Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Matt Brabham pulling Nashville double duty again

Matt Brabham is in for a busy weekend in Nashville as he will run both Stadium Super Trucks races and the Indy NXT round at the Music City Grand Prix.

Brabham impressed in his NXT return in July, going from eleventh to fourth at Iowa in replacement duty for Juncos Hollinger Racing. JHR signed Victor Franzoni for the rest of the 2023 season, though Brabham quickly found another NXT ride at Cape Motorsports, with whom he won the USF2000 National Championship in 2012, replacing Enaam Ahmed.

“I’ve been with the Capes on and off since I drove for them in 2012,” said Brabham. “It’s been great working with them, whether it’s driving or coaching or testing. I actually drove a test day with Jagger (Jones) before his USF2000 season, so we’re quite close.”

He ran the full Indy NXT—then known as Indy Lights—calendar in 2022 for Andretti Autosport after a six-year absence, finishing third in points with two wins. His return to the series came after a wildly successful run in SST that saw him become the first three-time champion.

While running multiple disciplines in the same weekend is difficult due to scheduling, a concern that he brought up with The Checkered Flag in March 2022 to explain why he wouldn’t race both Indy NXT and SST if they were on the same support card, it became possible at the 2022 Music City Grand Prix after poor weather cancelled NXT’s qualifying session that otherwise ran too close to SST Race #1. The second SST race was held far enough from the NXT race that erased any potential clash.

He finished fourth in the NXT race, followed by winning SST Race #1 and barely losing the second to eventual champion Gavin Harlien.

“I’m looking forward to the weekend. I was strong on the street courses last year, including Nashville, and I know the Capes were quick at Detroit earlier this year,” he continued. “Hopefully, we’re fast out of the gate and can build on the momentum I have from Iowa.”

Most of Brabham’s focus for 2023 is on the Trans-Am Series, where he sits second in the TA standings; while Trans-Am is also at Nashville, only the TA2 class is taking part. Like Brabham, Ben Maier is pulling double duty as he runs SST as well as TA2.

In April, Brabham swept the SST season opener at Long Beach. He and Maier are among fourteen trucks entered for Nashville.