Matt Brabham capitalised on late contact between Robby Gordon and Jerett Brooks to take the lead in Sunday’s Stadium Super Trucks round at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and he held off Gordon’s final charges to score his first weekend sweep since the 2016 Detroit Grand Prix.
In the wake of Bill Hynes and Bo LeMastus‘ fight after Saturday’s event in response to the latter’s driving, Hynes started on the pole ahead of Max Gordon, whom Hynes was defending in the tussle. LeMastus was approached by USAC officials for his actions in the race, but did not receive further discipline and started the race in last; with LeMastus comprising the tail end, Brabham started in front of him in eighth.
Robert Stout, who began his race in fourth, quickly pounced on the lead after passing the top three in the Keyhole corner. Aaron Bambach took second from Hynes as they came to the the end of the first lap. LeMastus spun into the wall after taking the jump at the start/finish line; the resulting damage to his left rear forced him to pit during the first competition caution, and he would spin again a lap before the yellow.
In the Keyhole on lap three, Hynes was swamped by Jerett Brooks, Jett Noland, Brabham, and Robby Gordon. At the caution a lap later, Stout led Bambach, Brabham, Brooks, Gordon, Noland, Hynes, and Max Gordon.
The race resumed on lap five with Stout leading Bambach, while Robby Gordon and Brabham began pressuring Brooks for third. A lap later, Gordon forced a three-wide battle between Stout and Bambach that he won out. Brooks and Brabham joined the picture to bunch the top five together.
Throughout lap seven, Stout and Brabham fought with Brooks for second. Brabham utilised the draft to push Stout past Brooks, but Brabham attempted to make his own move on Stout and the two collided in turn four, causing the latter to spin. Brooks slipped by to take second.
The final competition yellow came out on lap eight as Gordon led Brooks, Brabham, Bambach, Noland, Stout, Max Gordon, Hynes, and LeMastus who rejoined the race.
Brooks immediately caught Robby Gordon’s tail as they entered turn one on the restart with three laps left, but Brabham ran beside Brooks through the Keyhole. Brabham tried another move on Brooks in the esses on the penultimate lap, to no avail.
As it turned out, Brabham did not need much effort to take the lead on the final lap. In turn four, Brooks made his move on Gordon for the lead, causing the two to hit each other. However, Brooks carried too much momentum into the corner and slid through the gravel before spinning as his truck returned to the surface.
“That was intense. It’s honestly so much fun,” Brooks said in a post-race Instagram Story. He ended the day in eighth. “Got to second place last caution: it was me, Robby, and Matty Brabham going at it. Going into the last lap, got a pretty good draft on Robby. He went to the inside to block. Went to the outside, drove it in deep and typical Robby. What do you do when you pass Robby Gordon? Got sent out into the grass and it was game over. In the rocks, came onto the track, and truck died.
“Honestly, huge thank you to Stadium Super Trucks, Robby, Continental (Tire), and Marco (Robelo, Continental Tire engineer). That was a really good time and hopefully I put on a show. […] Hope to be back, honestly.”
Brabham sneaked by the two to claim the lead. Gordon tried to chase Brabham and placed himself on the rear bumper. Entering the final turn, Gordon tried to find an opening but it was closed off by Brabham, enabling him to take his twenty-third career win and third at Mid-Ohio.
It is Brabham’s second career weekend sweep after Detroit 2016 (though that weekend did not run every scheduled race as the second was abandoned due to Matt Mingay’s crash), and the first time that Brabham won consecutive events since 2018 when he won Road America Race #2 and Sydney Race #1. Brabham also notches the second sweep of 2021 after Sheldon Creed did so in the season opener at St. Petersburg.
“Happy 4th of July everyone!!! What a way to celebrate the weekend! Thank you @carlislecompaniesinc (Carlisle Companies), Pole, two race wins and the overall win,” Brabham wrote on Instagram. “Proud and honored to call this great country home.”
Behind Brabham and Gordon, Bambach finished third for the second straight time.
Most laps led (3 bonus points): Robert Stout and Robby Gordon