In a battle of SPEED Energy Stadium Super Truck young hotshots, Gavin Harlien has taken victory in the VP Racing Fuels Driver Challenge over Blade Hildebrand. The two drivers competed against one another on the track and in a fan vote for the first three rounds of the 2019 season, with the winner acquiring VP Racing Fuels sponsorship for the rest of the year. The victor was announced Monday, while the challenge had been revealed on 20 March.
“Congratulations to Gavin Harlien, winner of the 2019 VP Racing Fuels Driver Challenge,” a series release stated. “Harlien will sport the VP Racing Fuels colors for the remainder of the 2019 Stadium SUPER Trucks season.”
The two drivers alternated VP Fuels liveries for the challenge, though Jeff Hoffman piloted the VP truck for the season opener at Circuit of the Americas in late March. Hildebrand opened on a strong note by scoring his first series win, while Harlien finished at the back due to mechanical issues. Harlien rebounded in the second race of the weekend by beating Hildebrand with a third-place run against Hildebrand’s fourth.
Harlien raced the VP Fuels truck at the Texas Motor Speedway rounds. Once again, the two split the series with Hildebrand besting Harlien (second vs. third) in Race #1 and vice versa (fourth vs. sixth) in Race #2.
The series’ latest weekend, the Grand Prix of Long Beach in early April, saw Hildebrand’s VP truck crash out of the first round (Harlien finished fourth). Although he started on the pole for the second race, Hildebrand finished sixth against Harlien’s third.
Although the winner was determined by a variety of factors including race finish, marketing success, and fan voting, Harlien also mathematically leads Hildebrand in the series standings. After six races, Harlien sits third with 123 points, while Hildebrand is fifth with 115.
On Instagram, VP Racing Fuels congratulated Harlien on winning the challenge. “Thank you! I’m honored to be representing you guys”, he replied in a comment.