DJR ‘hurting’ after latest Newcastle debacle

Will Davison

Will Davison

All of Dick Johnson Racing is “hurting” after another poor performance at the Thrifty Newcastle 500, according to Will Davison.

Neither he nor Anton De Pasquale made the top 10 in Race 1 of the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship, even after the disqualification of the two Red Bull Ampol Racing entries, and the same happened again in Race 2.

Neither finished on the lead lap, with De Pasquale classified 16th and Davison, whose #17 Mustang was at least somewhat beaten up in the cut and thrust of the opening laps, 19th.

It came after Davison qualified 11th-fastest for the latter encounter of the weekend, which he started 14th due to a grid penalty for impeding Erebus Motorsport’s Will Brown, while De Pasquale only earned 21st on the grid.

DJR refused to comment to reporters who approached the team in the paddock after Race 1, before issuing a press release with a quote only from Team Principal Ben Croke.

Its post-Race 2 release contained very brief comment from the drivers.

Davison was quoted saying, “A big thanks to everyone in the team, obviously this weekend didn’t go the way we had planned – we’re all hurting but we will bounce back.”

De Pasquale remarked, “Not the ideal first weekend for us, there’s a lot of work to be done but we’ll keep our heads high and work it out.”

During Race 2, Croke was terse when interviewed on television in the DJR garage.

“Just a bit of work to do still,” he told pit reporter Mark Larkham.

“Battling away at the moment.”

The Ford homologation team’s #11 and #17 entries were beaten in Race 2 by five of the other nine Mustangs, including the Tickford Racing car in which Cameron Waters bent a steering arm by glancing a wall while battling with Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert for the lead.

Of the four Mustangs which did not beat both of DJR’s, one did not even start after James Courtney crashed in the Top 10 Shootout, while another did not complete a lap due to a start line incident.

In the teams’ championship, DJR sits 10th out of 13 (noting the Brad Jones Racing and Tickford quartets are split into separate two-car ‘teams’ for the purpose of the exercise).

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