There will be a very familiar surname in Saturday night’s Late Model race at Tri-County Speedway in Granite Falls, N.C.
Matt Brabham, grandson of racing legend Sir Jack Brabham and son of former driver Geoff Brabham, will make his Late Model debut in the Hams Restaurant of Hickory 125.
Brabham will compete for NASCAR driver/team owner David Gilliland.
While Brabham hopes to eventually be a full-time driver on the Verizon IndyCar Series, Saturday’s race was a learning experience he couldn’t pass up.
“We’re taking it seriously,” Brabham said in a team media release. “David’s team has won races in the Series, it will give me the opportunity to learn how these guys race and how to approach this form of racing.
“The NASCAR style is something that I have always admired and while this is at the beginning of the NASCAR ladder – it is a different discipline of racing. It is a great opportunity that David has offered us.
“His team is very professional and made me feel welcome. I think we’ll all really enjoy the night and will learn plenty in the process!”
Brabham, a two-time Mazda Road to Indy Champion and who won the 2014 Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis, clinched the opportunity to race Saturday by passing a test for Gilliland at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway last week.
“He (Gilliland) was really keen to put a program together after we tested at Hickory,” Brabham said. “Any time you are in a racecar is good for you.
“To go to a venue like Tri-County Speedway is a real grassroots, traditional style of racing where the fans get right into it. I can’t wait.
“It is a totally different discipline of racing to what I’m used to, but I’m looking forward to getting there, watching the supports (races) from the stands with a hotdog and then start rubbing some panels!”