The Stadium Super Trucks‘ two races at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course were the Gavin Harlien and Robert Stout Show, but Max Gordon crashed the party in the second event. After stalking the two for much of the race, Gordon found his opportunity on the final lap and pushed his way past both drivers to score his second career win and end what had been a difficult weekend on a high note.
Gordon’s qualifying and Race #1 were plagued by mechanical trouble as his brakes and rear gear respectively failed, though the misfortunes placed him on the pole for the Sunday event. Despite starting first, he was quickly outmatched as Stout and Cory Winner got by him before Saturday winner Harlien joined the battle.
The quartet established themselves as the class of the field by distancing from the others and comprising the top half by the first competition caution. As Harlien and Stout fought for the Race #2 and weekend victories, Gordon watched from a distance through the second yellow. This pattern continued through the final three laps as the trio were isolated in their own fight.
Stout took the white flag but Harlien and Gordon—the latter on the outside—attempted to initiate three-wide as they approached turn four. In the following China Beach corner, Gordon committed to the inside and made contact with Stout as he knocked him aside. Harlien and Stout then made contact on the turn’s ramp that wiped out the latter’s momentum.
“I knew Max was somewhere in the hunt but I didn’t even consider him getting into the mix up there at the end because Gavin and I were so focused on what were going to do against each other,” Stout recalled on the podium.
“To be honest, I think it was my race to lose. I thought I was in the perfect spot over turn five on the inside of the left-hander, and Max just came out of left field and snuck a good one on both of us. Just glad me and Gavin made it out without flipping at the end off the last jump because it was pretty close. He landed on the left front.
“[Max’s] knocked me out of a couple wins, now that I think about it.”
Harlien concurred with Stout, “We were so focused on each other, I had no idea Max was going to pull a move like that but props to him.”
As Stout and Harlien scrambled for second, Gordon built enough distance to secure his second career victory. His father Robby, who is in Asia on business with SPEED UTV, congratulated him via phone call.
“I saw in the Keyhole that they were tangling up a little bit so I followed my line, stayed in the draft, hit the jump wide open and got a good run off the backstretch,” Gordon said in his post-race interview. “They braked at like the 400, I hit my braking point, they were rubbing and banging and then I came on the outside. I hit the brakes and they both shifted wide, and I went to the inside and it worked.”
Harlien held off Stout to claim runner-up and the weekend trophy. Series débutant Ben Maier, who finished fourth in both races despite early spins in the Keyhole, joined the two on the overall podium.