Stadium SUPER Trucks

Matt Brabham beats Harlien in SST Nashville Race 1

2 Mins read
Credit: Music City Grand Prix

In his interview with The Checkered Flag in March, three-time Stadium Super Trucks champion Matt Brabham said he would likely only return to the series on weekends where Indy Lights did not clash. This was subverted with the Music City Grand Prix in Nashville as he entered both due to favourable scheduling, and in fact weather gave him an even better slate on Saturday as Indy Lights’ lone session for the day (qualifying) was cancelled due to weather while SST Race #1 was greenlit.

By the end, Brabham is already in good shape for his Indy Lights/SST double on Sunday after holding off Gavin Harlien on the final lap to win his twenty-fourth SST race and first of 2022.

After starting sixth, Harlien took the lead on lap three from Zoey Edenholm who in turn had assumed the spot after pole-sitter Bill Hynes overshot turn nine on the opening lap. Brabham started eighth and worked up to second by the competition behind Harlien, and the two quickly built a comfortable lead over the field on the ensuing restart.

As those behind them fought for position, Brabham closed the gap to Harlien before making his move on Harlien’s inside in turn eleven. The duo took the white flag side-by-side before Brabham finally cleared Harlien through the following chicane. Harlien tried to catch up on the two runs across the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge but was unable to find an overtaking opportunity.

“I saw Matty catching me a little bit there at the end and I was thinking he was only going to be able to pass me after one of the bridges and then he got me right before the finish line which I wasn’t expecting, so that was a good move,” Harlien explained in his post-race interview. “I tried to get a run on him on the last lap coming down, but I hit the wall coming back down the second bridge and wasn’t able to get it.”

The victory is the eighth for the black-and-white Continental Tire truck and Brabham’s first in such a vehicle. It is also his maiden win at Nashville after finishing second and third in 2021.

“That was an awesome race,” Brabham said. “That was textbook kind of Super Truck racing when you can’t break the draft and you just got to find the one corner that they’re not expecting you to pass. It was awesome, had so much fun.”

Max Gordon rounded out the podium, though not without some controversy as he clipped Fastest Qualifier Robert Stout in turn nine of the last lap and caused him to flip onto his roof while fighting for the spot. Gordon explained to Stout’s father and podium interviewer Ken that he lost his brakes during the final laps, and the contact with Stout came after locking up his truck and trying to slide it through the corner.

“I had to (race without brakes), I needed the points and I tried my best,” Gordon said before apologising to Ken Stout. “I was just hoping I could get to the front again. I definitely did not mean to take him out, I am super sorry. If I didn’t have any brakes, then… I just needed the points and I was just trying.”

In his second SST weekend, Cleetus McFarland ran in the top three for much of the race before being sandwiched between Stout and the chicane’s tyre barrier with two laps remaining. Although unintentional, the collision cut his right-front tyre and abruptly shortened his day.

Assuming the weather cooperates, Race #2 will take place on Sunday at 5:05 PM Central Time following the NTT IndyCar Series race.

Race results

FinishStartNumberDriverLaps
1883Matt Brabham9
2655Gavin Harlien9
3977Max Gordon9
4751Ryan Beat9
5467Ben Maier9
6321Zoey Edenholm9
75F26Stanton Barrett9
81028Robert Stout8
9157Bill Hynes8
1021776Cleetus McFarland7
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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