Steve Owen scored his first Dunlop Series race victory in three years at the end of a bruising opening race in Townsville.
Starting from pole position, Owen let the drama unfold behind him, driving into the distance during the early laps to open a 3.5 second lead prior to the Safety Car being called on Lap 6.
The full course yellows, required to retrieve Sam Walter’s crashed Holden from the exit of Turn 3, allowed Owen’s MW Motorsport team-mate Dale Wood a chance at the win.
Owen would prove too good over the remaining laps following the restart, taking the flag 1.6s ahead of Wood.
Eventual third place finisher Daniel Gaunt had run second early before losing out to the faster Wood-driven Falcon.
The restart proved disastrous for Gaunt’s Eggleston Motorsport team-mate Jack Perkins, who was turned around by an out-of-control Cameron Waters.
Perkins squandered his front-row start with a poor getaway, but appeared to have superior speed to Gaunt prior to the Safety Car. He eventually saw the flag in 18th, despite falling to a low of 27th after the tangle with Waters, who in turn finished 28th after serving a drive-through penalty.
The restart squeeze also claimed Casey Stoner, who was forced to pitlane after his Red Bull Holden took left-front damage in a squeeze involving Taz Douglas at the exit of Turn 2.
Douglas was also involved in two separate incidents with Andre Heimgartner; making contact with the rear of the Finance Ezi Ford on both occasions.
The first contact pushed Heimgartner wide and out of a fine fifth place in the opening laps, while a late-race tap spun the Kiwi completely.
The latter incident allowed Ash Walsh to sneak into 10th place, ensuring him pole for Race 2.
The Matt Stone Racing Ford driver had cut his way through the pack from the back of the grid after a power steering failure crippled his qualifying efforts.
Further back in the field, Aaron Tebb’s ex-Kelly Racing Holden suffered heavy damage after a tangle and subsequent failure pitched the youngster into the concrete at the exit of Turn 6.
A further two races on Sunday will complete Round 3 of the Dunlop Series.
See below for full Dunlop Series Race 1 result
|1||Sherrin Rentals/MWM||Steve Owen||Ford Falson FG||18:36.5999||1:15.0149|
|2||GB Galvanizing/Wilson||Dale Wood||Ford Falcon FG||18:38.2225||1:15.5507|
|3||Marque Management||Daniel Gaunt||Holden Commodore VE2||18:39.8997||1:15.7366|
|4||CEG Rentals||Aaren Russell||Ford Falcon FG||18:40.7995||1:15.7264|
|5||Ozstaff Racing||Kristian Lindbom||Ford Falcon FG||18:41.9639||1:15.6497|
|6||Advam Racing||Andrew Jones||Holden Commodore VE2||18:43.3651||1:15.7704|
|7||Go Karts Go||Drew Russell||Ford Falcon FG||18:45.4450||1:15.9774|
|8||I Seek||George Miedecke||Ford Falcon FG||18:46.2898||1:16.0692|
|9||Sargent Security Racing||Paul Morris||Holden Commodore VE2||18:48.2748||1:16.1804|
|10||Infants Friend||Ashley Walsh||Ford Falcon FG||18:49.6141||1:15.4587|
|11||R&J Batteries/NDD||Geoff Emery||Holden Commodore VE2||18:52.1473||1:16.0312|
|12||Icebreak Racing||Chris Pither||Holden Commodore VE2||18:56.3847||1:16.6877|
|13||MiraFlores/Harber Excav||Morgan Haber||Ford Falcon FG||18:56.8907||1:16.0362|
|14||Rodney Jane Racing/Sonic||Rodney Jane||Ford Falcon FG||18:57.6726||1:16.5141|
|15||Action Racing||Marcus Zukanovic||Holden Commodore VE||19:00.3013||1:17.5562|
|16||Tony D’Alberto Racing||Nick McBride||Ford Falcon FG||19:00.4954||1:16.6256|
|17||Finance Ezi Racing||Josh Hunter||Ford Falocon FG||19:00.8893||1:17.0072|
|18||Eggleston Motorsport||Jack Perkins||Holden Commodore VE||19:00.9530||1:15.6065|
|19||Poll Performance||Jim Pollicina||Holden Commodore VE||19:01.6530||1:17.6244|
|20||Resi Home Loans||Aaron McGill||Holden Commodore VE2||19:07.7285||1:18.9045|
|21||Formula Tech/Interquip||Brett Stewart||Holden Commodore VE||19:08.3211||1:18.1026|
|22||Gulf Western Oil||Michael Hector||Ford Falcon FG||19:10.2435||1:18.6289|
|23||Finance Ezi Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Falcon FG||19:10.2908||1:15.7566|
|24||NQ Concrete Sawing||Justin Garioch||Holden Commodore VE2||19:10.8795||1:18.6585|
|25||Pacific Hoists – Hitachi||Nandi Kiss||Holden Commodore VE||19:12.8142||1:18.6676|
|26||Image Racing/Arvo||Taz Douglas||Ford Falcon FG||19:16.6862||1:15.8566|
|27||Rodney Jane Racing/Sonic||Gary Jacobson||Ford Falcon FG||19:34.3123||1:16.4217|
|28||Linde Material Handling||Cameron Waters||Holden Commodore VE2||19:42.0897||1:16.1879|
|29||Triple Eight Race Eng||Casey Stoner||Holden Commodore VE2||19:44.3342||1:16.2474|
|DNF||Rev Trans WA||Aaron Tebb||Holden Commodore VE2||15:11.1988||1:18.8177|
|DNF||Blackchrome Sports||Sam Walter||Holden Commodore VE2||5:31.8651||1:18.3075|