INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Matthew Brabham, the grandson of Sir Jack Brabham, came within a whisker of honoring the recent passing of the Australian motor racing great with a win on the famed Brickyard oval in Friday’s Indy Lights Freedom 100.
Following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father Geoff, both of whom raced at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the young Brabham looked poised to take the checkered flag in the support race to Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 only to be piped at the finish line by Colombia’s Gabby Chaves by 0.0050 seconds.
“I thought I had it coming around the last lap ... (then) I saw this white and red flash come around me on the outside and he just beat me,” said Brabham, who was racing four days after his grandfather, a three-time Formula One champion died.
“I‘m just disappointed not to have won.”
One of IndyCar racing’s promising young talents making his way up through the series’ minor leagues, Brabham nearly made it two wins in a row at the Brickyard having won the inaugural Indy Lights Indianapolis Grand Prix earlier in May.
Jack Brabham ran four-times at the famed Brickyard with a best finish of ninth in a rear engine Cooper. Geoff Brabham made 10 starts in the 500.
Nicknamed “Black Jack” for his mop of dark hair and taciturn nature, Brabham would become “Geriatric Jack” as he raced on into his 40s, his last victory coming at the 1970 South African Grand Prix in his final season when he was 43.
In total, Brabham raced in 126 grand prix, taking pole position 13 times and winning 14 races.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Indianapolis; Editing by Frank Pingue