Nathan Herne takes series lead after flawless opening race victory
It was a flawless opening performance for Valvoline Team GRM’s Nathan Herne to take the win and Turtle Wax Trans Am Series lead after an opening corner incident dropped teammate back through the field.
In a personal best result, Jett Johnson took second ahead of category debutant Brodie Kostecki.
There was drama at the opening corner as title leader Owen Kelly was contacted by Tim Brook, which in turn forced the Supercheap Auto Ford Mustang of Nash Morris to take avoiding action through the sand trap.
Polesitter Herne was unaffected as Boost Mobile Racing’s Brodie Kostecki moved to second in his Chevrolet Camaro ahead of NAPA Auto Parts supported Jett Johnson in his Ford Mustang and Brett Holdsworth driving the TPS Racing Ashley Seward Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro.
There was a safety car after debutant Tom Hayman went off on the outside at Turn 2, which aided in Kelly’s charge through the field.
Herne continued to lead after the restart as Johnson demoted Kostecki to third, but the big mover was GRM young gun Lochie Dalton up seven positions to fifth ahead of the All American Driveline Mustang of Ben Grice, Kyle Gurton’s Micale Cabinets/Nuveau Group example and Elliot Barbour’s Pioneer DJ Chevrolet Camaro.
Right on the edge of this battle was Kelly after passing Jackson Rice, who completed the top 10 in his Dream Racing Australia Mustang.
Herne continued to lead Johnson by 2.112s as he targeted a return to the top of the standings following the opening corner incident for his teammate.
Kostecki was holding his own in third ahead of Holdsworth, who in turn held a comfortable margin in front of an intense battle for fifth involving Dalton, Gurton and Grice.
Those involved in the opening corner fracas were led by Kelly in eighth, Brook 12th and Morris was an innocent bystander but came out the worst as damage limited him to 24th.
Nic Carroll and Craig Scutella each had their races end due to mechanical problems.
It was Herne unchallenged to take victory from Johnson in a personal best finish, Kostecki, Holdsworth, Dalton, Gurton, Grice, Kelly, Barbour and Rice.
A charge by Dial Before You Dig’s Jon McCorkindale pushed him to 11th after starting outside the top 20 to edge Brook.
The opening corner incident will be investigated post-race.
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