The Stadium Super Trucks‘ weekend at the inaugural Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville will feature a grid of thirteen drivers, three of whom return after an extended period away from a truck and two set for their series débuts. The field is the largest since fourteen drivers ran the 2018 Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Bo LeMastus‘ Crosley Brands has stepped up their promotion for the weekend by assuming the series’ naming rights—dubbing it the Crosley Stadium Super Trucks—and sponsoring five trucks. Including their CEO, Crosley will also appear on the trucks of Ricky Howerton, Ricky Johnson, Arie Luyendyk Jr., and Jeff Ward. Of the quintet, Luyendyk possesses the most SST experience as a three-time race winner who most recently ran the season opener at St. Petersburg.
Johnson and Ward, both off-road and motocross aces, make their returns to SST after last racing in the inaugural season in 2013, Both made four starts apiece that year, with Johnson’s best finish being second at San Diego 1 while Ward’s is eighth at Long Beach and San Diego 2. Ward has also indicated in an Instagram comment that he hopes to run the next weekend at Long Beach in September.
Howerton is a new face who is familiar with LeMastus and Crosley. He is a crew chief in the American Flat Track motorcycle racing leaghe, and his bikes have been sponsored by Crosley; in 2016, he won the AFT Grand National championship with rider Bryan Smith. While much of his résumé is on the engineering side, Howerton has also enjoyed driving success as the 1990 United States Auto Club Sprint Car Rookie of the Year. In 2015, he made a start for Crosley in what is now the ARCA Menards Series, finishing twenty-second at Winchester.
Another SST newcomer in the grid is Stanton Barrett, who tested a truck last Wednesday. The film stuntman boasts over two decades of NASCAR experience across the three national series, with seven top ten finishes in the Xfinity Series and most recently racing at the Cup level in 2020. In June at Mid-Ohio, he finished sixth in his first ARCA start since 2001; the weekend, which was headlined by the Xfinity Series, also featured SST as a support class.
Desert racer Zach Van Matre will run his first event since 2019. Van Matre, who has competed in the Baja 1000 and other off-road events for Robby Gordon, tested stadium trucks in the past prior to making his race début at the 2019 GP of Long Beach. He finished seventh and tenth in two races.
Jett Noland returns for his third start of 2021. The short track driver and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series part-timer has four SST weekends under his belt including the latest round at Mid-Ohio 2. His best finish of the year is sixth on three occasions.
Matt Brabham, Robby and Max Gordon, Bill Hynes, and Robert Stout return as expected for regulars.
Barrett, Johnson, LeMastus, Noland, Ward, and Robby Gordon have NASCAR experience, with all but Ward having competed at the national series levels (Ward failed to qualify in his lone Cup attempt in 1998). Barrett’s début will make him the twenty-sixth NASCAR/SST crossover and nineteenth if limited to the three national divisions, though the number increases with those like Howerton if one includes the ARCA Menards Series, which was previously its own body prior to being acquired by NASCAR in 2019.
Practice and qualifying will take place on Friday, 6 August. Race #1 is scheduled for Saturday at 6:15 PM CDT and the second is the following day at 1:45 PM.
|4||Jeff Ward||Crosley Brands|
|5||Ricky Johnson||Crosley Brands|
|7||Robby Gordon||SPEED Energy|
|22||Zach Van Matre||Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row|
|25||Arie Luyendyk Jr.||Crosley Brands|
|28||Robert Stout||Lucas Oil/Continental Tire|
|31||Stanton Barrett||VP Racing Fuels|
|42||Bo LeMastus||Crosley Brands|
|48||Ricky Howerton||Crosley Brands|
|50||Jett Noland||Hype Motorsports/Noland’s Roofing|
|77||Max Gordon||Continental Tire|
|83||Matt Brabham||Carlisle Companies|