Stadium SUPER Trucks

Gavin Harlien nets SST Mid-Ohio Race 1 win despite lap confusion

3 Mins read
Credit: Gavin Harlien

Gavin Harlien faced challenges from both Robert Stout and USAC if he wished to win the Stadium Super TrucksMid-Ohio Sports Car Course Race #1 on Saturday. Just when it appeared Harlien held off Stout for the victory after eleven circuits, a miscommunication resulted in USAC’s Race Control accidentally extending the race by two laps. Although Harlien and Stout continued to race for the added laps and the latter won out, the results were eventually revised to confirm Harlien as the winner.

Harlien and Stout started at the rear as the fastest qualifiers, while Bill Hynes was on the pole and led Zoey Edenholm early. The Stout/Harlien duo only needed two laps to get by Max Gordon and series newcomers Ben Maier and Cory Winner to enter podium range.

Hynes established a commanding lead as Edenholm lost second to Stout and Harlien before the competition caution came out on lap four. Stout pounced on Hynes at the ensuing restart and Hynes followed suit in the Keyhole.

The second half of the race was defined by Stout and Harlien dueling for the lead while Hynes watched from third. Their battle continued after the second and final competition caution, and it appeared Harlien would keep Stout at bay through the eleventh and final scheduled lap. However, a misunderstanding by Race Control resulted in the distance being lengthened to thirteen laps, abruptly forcing Harlien to continue his defence when he noticed the checkered flag was not being waved. Shortly after, Stout cleared Harlien in the China Beach turn five on the now-void penultimate lap before the latter started falling back when his fuel pressure experienced problems.

The checkered flag finally fell as Stout crossed the line in first while USAC worked to rectify the matter. While Stout stood atop the podium with Harlien next to him, the series later confirmed Harlien was the actual winner with Stout second. The win is Harlien’s first since Road America in 2019, preceding a two-year hiatus as he focused on college, and his second at Mid-Ohio.

“Me and Stout definitely had an amazing battle,” he said on the podium. “We were just out there not even worrying about saving our trucks halfway through. We just wanted to battle the whole time, switched the lead a couple times, let him by on the last couple laps which is unfortunate but definitely still an awesome race.”

Credit: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

While Stout was relegated to second, it is still his first podium at Mid-Ohio and fifth of his carer.

“Obviously [Harlien and I] ran Long Beach against each other, but we didn’t spend much time on track necessarily against each other,” he commented in his post-race interview. “Just super pumped for how this weekend’s gone so far. I really wanted to get the pole yesterday and he beat me by less than a tenth, so we knew it was going to be a good battle.”

Stout later voiced his disbelief with the reversal on social media, calling it “a total shame as Gavin & I had a great race together and put on a show all the way to the CHECKERED FLAG! The flags and what race control was telling us today though apparently do not apply to this race. Gotta love it some times…”

Hynes finished third for his fourth career podium and first since Race #2 at the 2019 Gold Coast weekend. It is his first podium on a permanent road course; Gold Coast is a street circuit, Valvoline Raceway (third in 2015) is a dirt track, and Lake Elsinore Diamond (win in 2018) is a stadium. Referring to his scuffle with Bo LeMastus at the 2021 Mid-Ohio 2 weekend, he quipped on the podium, “I didn’t spike anyone’s helmet this year.”

“I would have won if it worked out the way I wanted to,” Hynes remarked. “Thanks for all the fans that come out here. That fan I saw earlier today: this is not staged. We put on a show.”

Maier finished his SST début in fourth, wrapping up a tumultuous day in which he spun on lap four after a sideways landing on the Keyhole ramp, followed by an off-course excursion to begin lap six. Winner’s maiden race ended in fifth, while Edenholm recovered from a lap six spin in the turn twelve Carousel for sixth.

Gordon retired after he lost his rear gear, marking a mechanical problem befalling his truck for the second straght day; his brakes failed during qualifying on Friday.

Race #2 is scheduled for Sunday at 3 PM Eastern after the NTT IndyCar Series race.

Race results

FinishStartNumberDriver
1755Gavin Harlien
2628Robert Stout
3157Bill Hynes
4567Ben Maier
5461Cory Winner
6221Zoey Edenholm
7377Max Gordon
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Justin is neither a NASCAR nor off-road racer, but he has covered them for The Checkered Flag since 2018.
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