Lights-to-flag victory for Rice in TA2 Race 1
Jackson Rice has had a lights-to-flag victory in Race 1 of the TA2 Muscle Cars Series at Winton Motor Raceway.
Starting from pole position, Wodonga local Rice was able to stay ahead of the pack for a home victory, finishing the 12-lap race more than six seconds ahead of the field after an early red flag.
The #7 Pedders Mustang driver was able to get away well, winning the race start from IES Motorsport driver Graham Cheney who’d started alongside him. Cheney was passed by Lee Stibbs and Josh Haynes before also succumbing to Zach Loscialpo to be fifth at the end of the opening lap.
Winner at Winton in 2022, Brad Gartner’s 2023 fortunes had already seen him sidelined from the Top Ten Shootout following a snapped throttle cable. For the race, his luck didn’t improve, the #22 Castec Rural Supplies Mustang ending up in the tyre barrier at Turn 2 with considerable damage ending his race.
The position of Gartner’s Mustang prompted a red flag while the stricken Ford was retrieved.
At the restart, Greg Keam came to a halt at Turn 4 in his #13 Debeer Refinish Ford Mustang with technical issues ending his race, while Rice led from Stibbs, Haynes, Loscialpo and Dylan Thomas.
Haynes – who’d set provisional pole earlier in the day before starting fourth – saw a solid podium finish go wanting as oil pressure issues ended his day, elevating Loscialpo into a short-lived third place, as the #51 Chevrolet Camaro of Cheney snatched the final podium spot.
Rice capped off the win with the fastest lap with a 1:25.950s on Lap 8, ahead of Stibbs, Cheney, Loscialpo, Thomas and defending Masters Class Champion, Nicholas Bates in sixth ahead of Hugh McAlister.
Hayden Jackson, who’d started 14th, came home eighth, while Michael Coulter also made up an impressive nine positions after finishing ninth – ahead of John Holinger – from 18th on the grid.
Also sharing biggest mover bragging rights with a nine-place haul was 18-year-old Hayden Hume, who charged from 20th to 11th place in the #45 Total Parts Plus Dodge Challenger.
The Race 1 finishing order set the grid for Race 2, the first of three 12-lap races on Sunday March 19 which starts at 09:50 AEDT, ahead of Race 3 (13:10) and 4 (15:25) at Winton Raceway.