Dalton’s Trans Am three-peat
Sunday 11th June, 2023 - 5:21pm
Lochie Dalton pulled a rarity in the National Trans Am Series when he clean swept the third round at Winton Motor Raceway in the AWC/Garry Rogers Motorsport Mustang.
He took the outright honours over Cody Gillis (The Racing Academy Mustang) and series leader James Moffat (Valvoline/GRM Mustang).
It was a Mustang shutout of the top nine spots in the third race, a 75-kilometre event over 25 laps. Despite a Safety Car two-thirds of the way in, Dalton was unfazed and went to win by two seconds.
Gillis held second from the start but, after the Safety Car, Moffat pounced at Turn 1 to take the spot away and held it to the flag.
The Safety Car was deployed when Elliot Barbour (Camaro) was bunkered at Turn 7.
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Fourth went to Tom Hayman when he made a late pass on Ben Grice.
The latter came under a challenge from Owen Kelly and survived by 0.06s at the chequered flag. Kelly had come from the rear of the field after contact from Nash Morris at Turn 12 earlier.
Morris was also the recipient of a drive-through penalty before he came back to finish eighth behind Elliot Cleary and ahead of Jackson Rice.
Josh Webster was 10th, ahead of fellow Camaro pilot Nick Lange. The leading Camaro driver for much of the race was Brett Holdsworth until contact with Tyler Everingham (Mustang) spun him at Turn 12.
Everingham had to do a pit tour as a result.
Earlier in the day, Dalton continued from his first race success, to take the second. It was a narrow yet apparently controlled victory for the Mustang driver.
“I made sure I got the start and then let the others sort themselves out,” said Dalton.
Gillis lost out to Grice at the start and was third through the opening lap.
The next time around he and Moffat had jumped ahead of Grice and would maintain second and third for the remainder of the 14 lap race.
“At mid-race I thought I would get there [to challenge for the lead]… maybe if I had a better start,” reflected Gillis.
Fifth place went to Rice who was able to hold off Thornburrow and Morris. Then there was an 8.7s gap back to Holdsworth who led a chain of rivals to the line.
Right behind was Hayman, Everingham, Kelly and Barbour. Everingham had a drama on the final lap and dropped to 13th behind Cleary on the final lap.
That elevated Kelly to 10th after he started rear of grid when he took a penalty for taking a tyre outside the allocation.
Moffat leads the series on 549 points, nine more than Dalton, with Hayman 60 points adrift in third.