Photo courtesy of Matthew Brabham

Matthew Brabham finding success in Stadium Super Trucks

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Former open wheel standout Matthew Brabham continues to find success in the Stadium Super Trucks series, now called Speed Energy Formula Off-Road Presented By Traxxas.

Brabham first began taking part in the series in 2015 on a part-time basis before embarking on a full-season effort in 2016.

He won three races that year, and backed them up with five more in 2017 – he also finished second in the championship in both years.

The 2018 season now sees Brabham in position to take the series championship. On the back of three wins, Brabham sits on 337 points, 30 ahead of second-place runner Gavin Harlien.

Brabham’s successful 2018 campaign continued over the weekend at Road America, where he finished second in Race 1 – Robbie Gordon beat him to the checkered flag after a race-long fight – and won Race 2, passing former NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series driver Greg Biffle on the last lap to secure the win.

Matthew Brabham had a strong weekend at Road American, scoring a second-place and a win. Photo courtesy of Matthew Brabham

Brabham has had success at Road America before – he swept the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda weekend back in 2012 – and adding to that success made this past weekend all the more meaningful.

“It was a good weekend, we had an issue with the fuel pressure (on Friday) but were able to get it sorted and put together a good race,” said Brabham. “Road America has so much history with my dad, my uncle and myself in USF2000, it’s awesome to be here.”

He was also elated to go up against guys like Gordon and Biffle, who offer varied backgrounds that made racing against them a rewarding challenge.

“Guys like Robbie Gordon have their IndyCar experience racing here and it was great to go head to head with him in race one. It was also pretty cool to be able to race with the NASCAR guys like Casey Mears and Greg Biffle.”

Two race weekends remain in the season – Gold Coast, Australia in October and Glen Helen Raceway in California in December – and Brabham remains focused on securing his first Speed Energy Formula Off-Road title.

“The goal from here is to keep plugging away, and take it race by race and hopefully win the championship.”

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Michelin appoints new North American motorsports director

Michelin
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Michelin North America has named Tony Ménard as director of motorsports, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Ménard is succeeding Chris Baker, who has held the role for the past eight years. Baker is scheduled to retire in March of 2020, ending a lengthy career that began with Michelin in 1982.

“Chris has played a vital role in the growth and success of our motorsports program, both for BFGoodrich and Michelin in North America,” said Matthieu Bonardel, global director for Michelin Group’s motorsports business entity. “His passion and understanding for motorsport fueled growth in the organization and established credibility in the market. Chris’s leadership propelled the Group, which experienced tremendous success with race wins, and advanced the way the brands leveraged our motorsports participation to benefit the overall business.”

A native of Le Mans, France, Ménard has served in several positions during his 30-year career with Michelin, most recently serving global business leader for Michelin brand in the passenger-vehicle category. Ménard has worked closely with the North American motorsports team since early July in preparation for the transition.

Baker oversaw the development of the motorsports function for Michelin and BFGoodrich Tires brands as a single business unit in North America. He also directed the expansion of Michelin’s involvement in IMSA sports-car racing as the “Official Tire of IMSA” and BFGoodrich Tires partnership with SCORE International Racing as the “Official Tire of SCORE.”

During Baker’s tenure, BFGoodrich achieved an unprecedented 650 off-road class wins, including five overall victories in the Baja 1000. The brand also demonstrated performance in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing, Ultra4 King of Hammers, and provided strong support of grass roots racing across North America with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), National Auto Sport Association (NASA), and Super Production Challenge in Canada.

“I am incredibly grateful to Michelin for the opportunities and support throughout my career, and to all the folks that I have worked with and continue to work with,” Baker said. “I want to thank all the teams, partners, officials and fans who have made our relationships so successful and are essential to the brands’ successes. I look forward to witnessing the continued success of our motorsports programs under Tony’s leadership, as well as the contributions of the Michelin Motorsport North America staff and volunteers, who are completely dedicated and invested in representing our brands in competition.”