In 2017, Matt Brabham won the SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks‘ Race #2 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in what would be the series’ final trip to the street course for the next three years. Now that the trucks are back in Florida to begin the 2021 season, Brabham did not take long to reacclimate to manoeuvring the course in a stadium truck as he led Friday’s practice/qualifying session.
Brabham was the fastest of the eight-driver grid with a best lap time of 1:35.2050, and he was the only one to break 68 mph at 68.064. His second-best time of 1:35.4555 (67.885 mph) would have been the third-fastest among the eight drivers’ top times. It is Brabham’s seventeenth top qualifying effort and first at St. Petersburg; he swept qualifying in 2020’s two race weekends.
Sheldon Creed, making his return to the series during an off-week for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and a two-time St. Petersburg winner, followed at 1:35.3018. His second fastest was 1:35.3205 (67.981 mph). Creed and Brabham were consistently the fastest pair for much of the session before Brabham leapfrogged Creed and held the top spot for the remaining fifteen minutes.
Shortly before the nine-minutes-remaining mark, Arie Luyendyk Jr. briefly locked up his brakes and went wide into the opening corner, but he still ended his Friday with the third-best time at 1:36.0947. His second best was 1:36.1400 (67.402 mph).
Robby Gordon and son Max ranked fourth (1:36.5834) and seventh at (1:40.1740), respectively, while their second-fastest times were 1:36.9920 (66.810 mph) and 1:40.5318 (64.457). The older Gordon is the only other SST driver with multiple wins at St. Petersburg. Max dealt with mechanical problems during his run which included an overheating transmission.
“Practice one went ok the transmission was getting alittle to hot,” wrote Max in an Instagram post.
Stout posted on Instagram, “My first session in SST was a blast! Same track I started pro racing at 11 years ago and just as fun now as it was then! Maybe a little more fun in this case!”
Bill Hynes‘s power steering pump broke as he went out on track, and the resulting “workout” as he described it ended with him recording a fastest lap time of 1:41.2941. His second best was 1:41.8288 at 63.636 mph.
Two races will take place over the weekend with the first on Saturday at 12:50 PM Eastern and the second on Sunday at 11:05 AM.
|Position||Number||Driver||Best Time||Margin||Top Speed (mph)|
|2||2||Sheldon Creed||1:35.3018||+ .0968||67.995|
|3||25||Arie Luyendyk Jr.||1:36.0947||+ .8897||67.433|
|4||7||Robby Gordon||1:36.5834||+ 1.3784||67.092|
|5||28||Robert Stout||1:38.0441||+ 2.8391||66.093|
|6||50||Jett Noland||1:39.2196||+ 4.0146||65.310|
|7||77||Max Gordon||1:40.1740||+ 4.9690||64.687|
|8||57||Bill Hynes||1:41.2941||+ 6.0891||63.972|