The Great American Shortcourse (GAS) is now underway in the newest effort to revitalise short-course off-road racing on the West Coast. The series ran a pair of events on Saturday and Sunday at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville, California, that featured fourteen classes. Of the 130 drivers who participated, only Pro Lite racer Christopher Polvoorde has experience in GAS’s new partner Stadium Super Trucks.
After placing third, first, and third in the three practice sessions, Polvoorde was the fastest qualifier with a best lap time of 52.141 seconds (average of 52.620). A grid inversion meant he started second for the first race behind second-fastest Madix Bailey. Bailey would lead all twelve laps while Polvoorde tailed him for the entire event and finished second of eight entries.
Despite rolling while entering a corner, he continued his qualifying streak on Sunday with a 53.862-second average time and topping out at 50.416. As with the previous day, he started second of nine and followed Bailey to another runner-up finish.
Polvoorde made his SST début in August 2019 at Road America, where he finished fourth, third, and sixth. The third race saw him battle for the lead with Robby Gordon and Gavin Harlien before transmission issues dropped him out of the top five.
While Polvoorde is the only GAS driver with SST race experience, some have varying degrees of separation to the series. Bronsen Chiaramonte, who finished eighth and fourth in the two Pro Lite races, and his brother Braden, who competes in the Mod Kart and Production 1000 class, are cousins of two-time SST champion and current NASCAR Truck Series driver Sheldon Creed; their grandfather Maurice Ortega’s company AM Ortega sponsors the J1 Kart class and funds Creed’s truck when necessary. Incidentally, Creed and Polvoorde shared the Continental Tire stadium truck in 2019. J2 Kart competitor Lake Adler is the son of Greg Adler, who made starts in SST between the inaugural 2013 season and 2017.
GAS, which was formed as a spiritual successor to Polvoorde’s previous home Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, partnered with SST in March to organise a combination championship on 13/14 November. While a venue was not given in the joint statement, the GAS schedule indicates it will take place at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino; the track hosted SST’s Robby Gordon Off-Road World Championships in 2018. The Southern California track will also host GAS’s next race weekend on 22/23 May. While not finalised at the time of the March announcement, the alliance will also include the Off Road Race of Champions, an SST event for GAS’s class champions at King of the Hammers in February 2022 in which the winner receives a full-time seat for that SST season.
After the May weekend at Glen Helen, GAS will take a months-long break before returning in the fall. Although Wild West Motorsports Park is the third round on 9/10 October, the Nevada track announced its closure on Monday night “due to unfortunate circumstances.” A replacement date has not been revealed.