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Matt Brabham earns 2 wins in Stadium SUPER Truck Series fill-in role

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One week after he came up short of winning the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 (finished 22nd) or being top rookie, Matt Brabham found his way to victory lane this past weekend.

Twice, in fact – and coming in a fill-in role, no less – replacing Stadium SUPER Truck Series founder Robby Gordon, who is preparing for the Baja 1000.

Brabham won the first and third scheduled races in the Stadium SUPER Truck Series events at Belle Isle, part of the Verizon IndyCar Series weekend in Detroit.

The second race was red flagged and not completed after Australian driver Matt Mingay was seriously injured on a Lap 3 incident.

Brabham then dedicated his win in the third race to Mingay.

“It was great to get the win today and really make it two from two, but our thoughts are with Matt (Mingay) and his wife Sheena,” Brabham said after his second trip to victory lane in Detroit.

“It was a crazy weekend and all our thoughts and prayers are with Matt and his family. We were racing for him today.

“We were so happy to see him taken off the critical list, but obviously he has a tough road ahead of him for a while and we all just hope his recovery is quick and as successful as possible.”

In the first SST race, the 22-year-old Brabham beat back challenges from Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Aaron Bambach. Brabham even wore the same PIRTEK Team Murray firesuit he wore in the Indy 500.

In the third race, Brabham started from the back of the field, methodically worked his way back up through the pack, was in the lead by mid-race and then held off late charges from EJ Viso and fellow Australian Paul Morris.

Brabham, who previously competed in the SSTS race as part of the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix in April, is still seeking a full-time IndyCar ride for 2017. He also hopes to continue competing in the Stadium Super Truck Series in the meantime. That includes the next SSTS race, the Castrol Edge Townsville 400, from July 8-10, in Australia.

“It is no secret that I would love to be behind the wheel of an IndyCar this weekend, but I am grateful just to be racing,” Brabham said. “It was terrific when Robby offered me the seat. I could not be happier to bring the Arctic Cat truck home in first place.

“I really enjoy my Stadium Super Truck racing and to get my first ever win (on Friday) was a bonus. It has been a whirlwind month with the 500 and coming here, but I have enjoyed every minute of it.

“Being a part of the Verizon IndyCar Series for the month of May was an enormous buzz and has just made me more hungry than ever to be in a full-time ride.

“I am ready to go and all I can do is keep doing the best I can in whatever I am racing.”

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Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

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“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).