For the first time in the history of the Toyo Tires Stadium Super Trucks presented by Traxxas, the trucks headed outside of North America to put on a show. In their inaugural trip to Australia as part of the Clipsal 500 weekend, it’d be Robby Gordon taking the overall victory.
“I’m going to start by saying the temporary circuit here is one of the best that I’ve seen in my life, and I’ve raced IndyCar and NASCAR for years,” Gordon commented following the third race. “You guys do a wonderful job here at the race track. Everybody at Clipsal and the Grand Prix – first class effort all the way through.”
The first race on Friday would see Nathan Pretty and Bill Hynes start on the front row after the line-up was set by inverting the speeds from the second practice. Charles Dorrance was scheduled to start third, but would flip over on his roof after getting up on two wheels during the parade lap. His truck was flipped back over on its wheel by Gordon, Sheldon Creed and event staff, but Dorrance wouldn’t be allowed to start for safety reasons.
The actual race would run clean with EJ Viso taking the victory ahead of Gordon while Australian Matt Mingay rounded out the podium in his SST debut. Series regulars Keegan Kincaid and Creed rounded out the top-five. Toby Price would finish sixth, followed by Brad Gallard, Bill Hynes and Nathan Pretty. Pretty would suffer a DNF following a mechanical issue.
The second race would fear Dorrance and Pretty on the front row, though they’d be overtaken early in the event as Creed quickly made his way to the front. Hynes, meanwhile, would run into problems as he’d run Gallard off the road on the opening lap. The contact continued throughout with Pretty pushing Kincaid tight against the curb while Mingay made contact with Kincaid’s back bumper, causing Kincaid to spin.
Viso wouldn’t have any luck after winning the first race as he’d get into the wall on lap four, and then go for a spin on lap seven. Gordon looked for a way around Creed, but wasn’t able to find a way as Creed grabbed the victory ahead of Gordon. Mingay finished third for the second straight race, followed by Viso and Pretty. Billy Geddes finished sixth, followed by Dorrance, Hynes, Kincaid and Gallard.
Gallard and Kincaid would start the third and final race of the weekend on the front row with Gallard taking the lead early in the event. Pretty, meanwhile, wouldn’t have as good a luck as he would go for a spin. On lap two, Viso and Mingus would get together while Gallard would go off into the pucker weeds after landing sideways off of the ramp, handing the lead to Kincaid. Viso’s bad luck continued as he would go for a spin on lap four while trying to pass Price. Mingay would have another strong podium run going, but would have to serve a stop-and-go penalty after hitting the temporary shi-cain on the backstretch on lap six. Kincaid would lead till the end to score the victory, making for a great end to a weekend that saw him struggle the first two events.
“I just knew I had to go all out today,” he commented. “If the truck wasn’t going to make it – as you can tell with Sheldon rolling it upside down and back over – but it’s been an amazing experience to add this to the list of places we’ve raced. Adelaide is top notch and can’t wait to come back.”
Meanwhile, the battle would be on for second between Gordon and Creed with Gordon stalking Creed the whole second half of the event, looking for anyway by. Through the final corner, Gordon would make minor contact with Creed – getting him off line to get underneath and make the pass to finish second.
“I helped Sheldon into that,” Gordon admitted. “I knew as soon as he set the front tire down, if I gave him a little bump forward it just put him off a little bit. I didn’t want to wreck him – I just wanted to get him offset in the corner, and that’s what I did. I got him just off line so I could do a slide job down inside of him.”
Creed would go off a ramp, getting a little sideways, though over-corrected, causing the truck to roll over.Creed would cross the finish line on his side for third before the truck would slide towards the wall, bouncing off the wall before rolling back on its wheel.
“Usually I can carry momentum off the jump and then make the pass so that’s what I was going for,” Creed said. “I just came off a little sideways and then over corrected and the truck just hopped. I tried to save it, but it just went over and I was along for the ride. Lucky enough, I hit the grass and kind of flipped it back over and kept going. But going into the last turn, he got me a little sideways so….”
Mingay and Gallard rounded out the top-five, followed by Pretty, Dorrance, Price, Hynes and Viso.
Gordon was deemed the overall winner due to having the lowest average finish across the three races.
“It was a good event for us,” Gordon expressed. “The track was great for Stadium Super Trucks. The ramp placement where I thought we should place them worked out very well, and unfortunately I didn’t win any races. I just had less problems than anybody else and put myself in a position to capitalize. So three second places got us the lowest points. I’m glad to see three different guys won so it shows how competitive the series is, and obviously if we get the opportunity to come back next year, we’ll bring more trucks because more trucks will produce a better race.”
Creed would finish second overall as he continues to impress at the age of 17. He commented afterwards that the trip to Australia was more fun than he thought it’d be originally.
“I didn’t think I’d get to come here and hang with the kangaroos, but I got to check that out,” he commented. “I got to go to the beaches. The track just going up through the middle of town is so nice to do.”
Mingay would finish third overall, despite this being his first racing event – ever.
“Been following these boys for the last couple of years and each race that they’ve had, I thought it’s been the best that I’ve ever seen,” he commented. “To be given the opportunity to come racing – I had no experience with circuit racing or off-road racing or anything; I’d just been a stunt man my whole life and I think I fit in pretty well. To be up front running and get a pair of podiums and third overall is a dream come true. It’s a bit surreal at the moment to be sitting next to this guy, Robby Gordon, at the moment. He’s a big deal all over the whole world.”
Mingay added that he’d be interested in running some of the events for the series in the United States later on this year.