Matthew Brabham finding success in Stadium Super Trucks

Photo courtesy of Matthew Brabham
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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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Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
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Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.