I arrived in Indianapolis on Thursday and made my way to the speedway, helmet bag in hand. I know what you're thinking, but unfortunately this isn't a blog about my return to the Indy 500, at least not yet.
As I made my way to the Bell Racing garage to prep the lid for my duties in the IndyCar two-seater (ABOVE), I was greeted by familiar faces. It's always great to catch up, since I haven't made too many IndyCar races this season. I was bracing for the more annoying part of walking around the paddock, the two questions that consume more than half of my conversations lately:
1. How was that show you were on? Is it even real?
2. Where's your dad?
You know what happened when I walked around the paddock today? Every single person I talked to wanted to know about Stadium Super Trucks! How awesome is that?
I get asked all of the time what it's like going from open-wheel to this type of racing and all I keep saying is that it's pure insanity and it looks a hell of a lot easier than it is. I'm slowly finding out what the truck needs to go fast and I am getting to the point where I can drive “all out” without over-stepping the truck's limitations. I'm also learning some new terms like “bicycling” and phrases like “Let 'er eat!” Let's just say it's less about set-up and more about your “attachments.”
You see, the Stadium Super Trucks have 600hp, weigh 3,000lbs and have a very narrow wheel base, giving it little traction and the tendency to bicycle. In non-racing terms, these things go bad fast and are super out of control, which makes the racing awesome!
We just finished Round 5 at Qualcomm Stadium last Saturday in San Diego. The track was insane! We had a mixture of sand sections, a huge over/under jump, and an asphalt whoops section that made you pay the price if you got it wrong. It's pretty crazy what you can fit inside an NFL stadium. Robby Gordon laid out one hell of a playground for us! Twice as many fans came out for the second round at Qualcomm. It's safe to say they all came back from SD1 and brought their friends!
The night went really well and I advanced through to the main after placing third in the heat. I started on pole for the main event (after a five-truck inversion), so the stage was set for my first podium of the year. I have been knocking on the podium's door with a Heat win in L.A. and two 4th place finishes so far this season.
I battled hard as hell with Sheldon Creed and ran third for the majority of the main event. At one point, I even landed in the bed of his truck off the sand jump. Like I said earlier, insanity! With seven laps to go, I hesitated for a moment to avoid hitting Creed in the tight hairpin and that's all MacCachren needed to muscle his way by. I ended up holding off Ricky Johnson for fourth, but felt gutted after throwing away a podium finish. I guess I still have a bit to learn from these guys!
As I left the speedway today, I was stopped again and asked if I see Stadium Super Trucks as my future in racing. I thought about it and told him that, while nothing can replace the Indy 500, I love the new challenge it brings me. I've never had more fun behind the wheel and at the end of the day, that is what matters most!
• To see the San Diego SST event, tune in to NBC Sports Network today (Saturday) at 12:30 p.m. ET.