Matt Brabham triumphs in Saturday’s Long Beach action

by Justin Nguyen

In a battle of SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks champions, Matt Brabham held off Sheldon Creed in a wild battle to take the Saturday win in the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Creed was the fastest in qualifying; as the field is inverted, E.J. Chiba, running his first SST race since Texas Motor Speedway in 2018, started on the pole. Zach Van Matre, a desert racer making his SST début, started second.

Chiba led much of the first lap until Bill Hynes and Blade Hildebrand passed him on Seaside Way and entering turn nine. By the start of lap two, Chiba had fallen out of the top five.

As the field entered turn one, Hildebrand passed Hynes for the lead, while Van Matre was sent wide into the turn and Chiba was turned around. Creed eventually took second from Hynes; Hynes continued to slip when Brabham passed him for third. Creed attempted to take first from Hildebrand in turn eleven’s hairpin, but failed.

A second effort by Creed occurred at the start of lap three, this time succeeding as the two-time champion cleared the points leader in turn one. Brabham caught Hildebrand and tried a move for second at turn eleven, but instead nearly spun. On lap four, Brabham finally cleared Hildebrand for the spot in turn eight.

The competition caution came out on lap five. At the yellow, Creed led Brabham, Hildebrand, Robby Gordon, Gavin Harlien, Hynes, Cole Potts, Van Matre, and Chiba.

The race resumed on lap six. Creed maintained his lead throughout the lap until Brabham passed him in turn eleven; the two initiated a side-by-side battle at the start of lap seven that ended with Creed winning out. Behind them, Hildebrand caught up to enter race win contention.

As the laps ticked down, Brabham and Creed continued their duel, subsequently distancing themselves from Hildebrand and the rest of the field. On the penultimate lap, Hildebrand and Gordon began to fight for third, the latter falling back after brushing the wall. At the front, Creed clipped the wall on Seaside Way but continued; later on the lap, Gordon and Hildebrand made contact, sending the two into the wall.

On the final lap, Creed could not catch up to Brabham as the defending champion took his second win of 2019 and the sixteenth of his career. Hoffman finished third.

Race results

1983Matt Brabham10Running
2102Sheldon Creed10Running
3547Jeff Hoffman10Running
4755Gavin Harlien10Running
5460Cole Potts10Running
6357Bill Hynes10Running
7222Zach Van Matre10Running
819E.J. Chiba10Running
987Robby Gordon9Accident
10668Blade Hildebrand9Accident

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