Grand Prix of St. Petersburg: Life after NASCAR leads Robby Gordon to Stadium Super Trucks series

Robby Gordon flies down the St. Petersburg course on the way to winning a Stadium Super Trucks race. CHRIS URSO   |   Times
Robby Gordon flies down the St. Petersburg course on the way to winning a Stadium Super Trucks race.CHRIS URSO | Times
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ST. PETERSBURG — When Robby Gordon was preparing for life after NASCAR a few years ago, he reached into the past for the next step in his career.

What he came up with was the Stadium Super Trucks series — a Grand Prix of St. Petersburg fan favorite that features trucks flying off ramps, slamming into each other and turning corners on three (and sometimes only two) wheels.

The series' origin dates back to the Mickey Thompson off-road series that ended three decades ago.

"I always knew how much fun it was and how cool it was," said Gordon, a veteran of more than 500 NASCAR and open-wheel races.

Gordon brought his version in 2013. Dirt tracks and stadiums were natural fits, but the next step came when they did a demonstration at Long Beach, a stop on the IndyCar schedule. They decided to spice it up by adding ramps to jump over.

"It was so much fun and so cool," Gordon said. "Before you know it, we're doing 10 street races instead of stadiums and dirt races, which brings it to a completely different fan audience."

Like the Grand Prix.

The trucks have been coming here since 2014. Ten drivers competed Saturday (Gordon won), and they'll race again today at 11 a.m. Gordon takes pride in the number of fans who crowd around the fences to watch his trucks' show.

"They go crazy," Gordon said, "because they've never seen anything like this."

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

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