A trio of series champions topped the charts in Friday’s SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks practice and qualifying at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course as Matt Brabham led Sheldon Creed and Robby Gordon. However, perhaps the biggest story of the session comes in a driver who isn’t even running Saturday’s two races as NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Justin Allgaier decided to try his hand at a stadium truck.
Allgaier, who is running the Xfinity Series’ B&L Transport 170 sandwiched between the two SST races on Saturday, was offered an opportunity to pilot a truck by Gordon in practice but will not join SST for its races due to scheduling. Driving in an all-black livery, he set the sixth-fastest lap time at 1:52.525. Allgaier was one of four drivers with NASCAR experience in the eight-person grid as Gordon and Greg Biffle were longtime competitors in the Cup Series while Creed currently races in the Camping World Truck Series.
“I’m getting to check off a bucket list item thanks to Mr. Robby Gordon,” Allgaier said in an Instagram story prior to the session. “[…] Huge thanks to Robby, and these Stadium Super Trucks are awesome so I’m excited.”
“[H]e got the seat time today he wanted, had a great session and will run a race in the future,” wrote the SST Twitter.
Brabham scored his fourth straight Fastest Qualifier honour after setting a best time of 1:49.226. He accomplished the feat twice in the series’ two trips to Mid-Ohio in 2019 to support the IndyCar and Xfinity Series, and he went on to win Race #2 in the latter weekend. He also scored two podiums in the IndyCar weekend.
Trailing him was Creed at 1:49.602, marking the second weekend in as many instances in 2021 in which the two finished 1–2 in practice/qualifying. Although Creed has never raced at Mid-Ohio in a stadium truck, he made his Xfinity début at the Lexington circuit in 2017.
Compared to the .376-second gap between first and second, Gordon followed Creed by just .017. Gordon has just one podium finish in four races at Mid-Ohio, but it was one that mattered greatly as it was a victory in Race #1 at the Xfinity weekend.
Rookie Robert Stout placed fourth at 1:50.883. He finished sixth and fifth in his maiden SST weekend at St. Petersburg.
Biffle, making his return to SST after last racing in the 2019 season finale at Gold Coast, was fifth in the #16 VP Racing Fuels truck at 1:51.899. He scored a runner-up finish in Race #1 at the IndyCar weekend, one of three career podium finishes.
“Surprise!! I’m racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course tomorrow for the Stadium Super Trucks !! #16 come out and watch,” Biffle posted on social media.
Another returnee to the series after more than a year away was Aaron Bambach, who last competed in 2018, as he placed seventh with a time of 1:52.568. He has three podiums in the series, while his best finish on permanent, paved circuits is fifth (2017 Watkins Glen Race #2 and 2018 Road America Race #1).
Max Gordon, in his third career SST weekend, was eighth at 1:53.576.
Saturday will see two races at 11:40 AM Eastern before the Xfinity race and 4:15 PM afterwards. It is the first weekend at Mid-Ohio for SST and Xfinity since 2019 after 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19.
|2||2||Sheldon Creed||1:49.602||+ .376|
|3||7||Robby Gordon||1:49.619||+ .393|
|4||28||Robert Stout||1:50.883||+ 1.657|
|5||16||Greg Biffle||1:51.899||+ 2.673|
|6||0||Justin Allgaier*||1:52.525||+ 3.299|
|7||3||Aaron Bambach||1:52.568||+ 3.342|
|8||77||Max Gordon||1:53.576||+ 4.350|