Blade Hildebrand claimed his first SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks win in the opening round of the 2019 SST World Championship in thrilling fashion Saturday afternoon at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Starting from the first position Travis Pecoy of Yorba Linda, California driving the Security State Bank entry for Cole Potts would jump out to the early lead.
However, that would not last for long as Blade Hildebrand of Yucca Valley, California in the Empire Destructive truck would blast past to the lead in turn 4 from his third starting position. Hildebrand would lead the first lap followed by Pecoy, and fourth starting Gavin Harlien of Mesa, Arizona.
Lap 2 would see Pecoy slip back two more positions, as Robby Gordon of Orange, California and Harlien would muscle their way past into second and third positions respectively. The next two laps would see Hildebrand, Gordon and Harlien battle hard with one another gunning for the top spot with Hildebrand holding them off attempt after attempt.
Gordon would duck to the inside of Hildebrand in turn 1 on the fourth lap, but contact between the two would force him to spin out loosing multiple positions.
That would leave Hildebrand and Harlien battling hard with one another for the top position. Harlien would hit one of the ramps wide open, landing hard on the left front.
As the competition caution would fly over the field Harlien’s water pump belt would come off allowing the truck to over heat forcing him to the pull into pit lane for assistance from the SST crew and ending his chances at victory.
On the restart 2018 SST Champion Matt Brabham of Gold Coast, Australia whom was lurking in the back of the field letting things sort out before making his move would work his way into the second position quietly.
Hildebrand and Brabham would pull away as the battle for the third position would heat up, as Gordon and VP Racing Fuel & Lubricants driver Jeff Hoffman would begin a great battle with one another.
Lap 7 would see Brabham not hit a ramp squarely, and rip off the break line causing him to spin out and out of contention.
Hoffman would pass Gordon for the second position at the start of the final lap, but Gordon would work his way back past as Hoffman’s rear end housing would break causing him to come to a halt on the race track ending his day early.
Hildebrand would hold off a last lap charge by Gordon to capture his first SST victory followed by Ryan Beat driving in his first SST race would quietly avoid all of he wild race action to put the Continental Tire truck on the podium.