With Stadium Super Trucks taking a break until the weekend of August 24-25 at Road America, we take a weekly look back at the series’ top drivers and their results so far! Check in every Sunday for a new driver!
#55 Gavin Harlien // 2nd overall, 307 points
12 starts, 3 wins, 8 podiums
Fun fact: United Fiber & Data Racing driver Gavin Harlien actually has more podiums this Stadium Super Trucks season than Matthew Brabham.
It may seem unbelievable, given just how dominant Brabham’s performance so far seems to have been. But while Brabham opened the season with four straight podiums, Harlien ended the first half of the schedule that way, with a win apiece in Detroit and Texas and finishes of third and second, respectively, in the other two races of those doubleheaders.
Thus far, Harlien has equaled Brabham on victories with three apiece (the first came at Long Beach, in what was also the first win of his SST career). He’s also avoided any DNFs in the first 12 rounds of the year, taking a worst finish of ninth in the first round from Barbagallo Raceway in Australia but otherwise placing in the top six in every event.
It’s an impressive move up the ranks for the Arizona native, who ran limited schedules in both 2014 and 2015 before returning to the series in a full-time capacity for the first time last year. He was fourth overall in 2017, taking nine podiums and posting the fastest qualifying time once in 22 starts. For the most part, it’s come against a lot of the same drivers, too, signaling clear progression and growth for the young driver.
That said, he’s still 30 points back of Brabham for the championship lead, and it’s qualifying points that have made much of the difference. Brabham has taken the fast qualifier spot in four of six races, and with one bonus point for every position gained on the inverted grid, starting further back has been an advantage for Brabham that Harlien has yet to match.
At this rate, both young drivers are well clear of third place, as Arie Luyendyk Jr. sits 56 points back of Harlien for second, and nearly 100 back of Brabham in the lead. With that in mind, Harlien doesn’t need to check his mirrors so much as he needs to hone in on the points leader. If he can keep up his early-season form, and maybe add a couple fast qualifiers along the way, we just might be in for a hell of a duel as the SST season winds down.