A week after their Australian brethren kicked off its 2021 season, the SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks will do the same on 23–25 April with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Supporting the NTT IndyCar Series at the Florida street circuit for the first time since 2017, the trucks will be at least eight drivers strong as Wednesday’s entry list release includes both returning faces and newcomers.
In the #2 Continental Tire truck will be a familiar name in Sheldon Creed. The two-time champion and winningest driver in series history is enjoying a burgeoning NASCAR career that saw him win the Camping World Truck Series title last year, but he occasionally returns to his stadium truck background whenever scheduling allows him. With the Truck Series taking the week off, Creed will drive the Continental Tire truck for the third straight year. He is a two-time winner at St. Petersburg with victories in 2015 and 2016.
As usual, series head honcho Robby Gordon will be in the #7 SPEED Energy/SPEED UTV/Toyo Tires truck. Gordon is the only other driver with multiple victories in St. Petersburg as he won the first SST event there in 2014 and in 2017. Outside of 2016’s races, Gordon finished on the podium in every start at St. Petersburg.
Arie Luyendyk Jr. confirmed his entry in the #25 VP Racing Fuels truck on Tuesday evening. One of just three drivers to have at least one start in every SST season since its inception in 2013 alongside Creed and Gordon, Luyendyk won one of the series’ few races during the COVID-hampered 2020 schedule at Road America. His lone SST weekend in St. Petersburg came in 2017 where he finished fifth and fourth, though he also has four career starts at the street course in Indy Lights from 2005 to 2008 with a best run of fifth in his first race.
For the first time since joining the series in 2019, Continental Tire will field multiple trucks such as the #28 for Robert Stout, sharing sponsorship with Lucas Oil and Fatheadz Eyewear. Set for his SST début as he plans to run the full season, Stout has raced in numerous disciplines such as sports cars and off-road, the latter of which includes winning the 2019 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Production 1000 UTV champion. Stout’s experience at St. Petersburg mainly came in sports car divisions such as SCCA, the Pirelli World Challenge, and Mazda MX-5 Cup; the 2020 MX-5 Cup finale at the track saw him finish fourth and fourteenth.
Jett Noland enters his second SST weekend after finishing sixth and fourth in his début at Road America in 2020, and will drive the #50 West Orange Roofing/Hype Motorsports truck. The Florida native and last season’s Trans-Am Series TA2 Rookie of the Year is one of twenty-four drivers who have raced in both SST and NASCAR; he and Creed have competed against each other in two Truck Series races to date in 2021, including the most recent event last Saturday at Richmond.
Entering his eighth year of SST competition is Bill Hynes in the #57 ThrillCast/Think Loud vehicle. In six career races at St. Petersburg, his best finish is sixth in 2015 Race #1; he finished eighth and ninth in the series’ most recent trip.
Piloting the #77 Continental Tire/SPEED RC Cars truck will be Max Gordon. The 12-year-old son of Robby, the younger Gordon was the fastest driver in practice for his début weekend at Road America last August, which was followed by ninth- and fifth-place finishes in the two races. Max spent Tuesday testing each driver’s truck at series headquarters including his own.
Matt Brabham returns to his #83 Carlisle Technologies for Season 7 in SST. He was the only driver to take multiple wins during the five-race 2020 slate with triumphs on both sides of the Pacific in Adelaide and Road America. Brabham won the 2017 St. Petersburg Race #1 and has also enjoyed success there in open-wheel cars with a sweep in the Pro Mazda Championship in 2013 en route to that series’ title.
While the eight drivers are confirmed, it is possible that two more names are added as late entries. From 2015 to 2017, the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg featured ten drivers per SST race (the inaugural round in 2014 had nine).
The weekend will begin with practice and qualifying on Friday, 23 April at 2:10 PM Eastern time. Race #1 will take place on Saturday at 12:50 PM while Race #2 is on Sunday at 11:05 AM.
|2||Sheldon Creed||Continental Tire|
|7||Robby Gordon||SPEED Energy, SPEED UTV, Toyo Tires|
|25||Arie Luyendyk Jr.||VP Racing Fuels|
|28||Robert Stout||Continental Tire, Lucas Oil Products, Fatheadz Eyewear|
|50||Jett Noland||West Orange Roofing, Hype Motorsports|
|57||Bill Hynes||ThrillCast, Think Loud|
|77||Max Gordon||Continental Tire, SPEED RC Cars|
|83||Matt Brabham||Carlisle Companies|