SpeedSeries news | Trans Am contenders wiped out in spectacular clash
Nathan Herne has delivered on his promise, beating third place finisher Brodie Kostecki of Supercars fame in the opening Turtle Wax Trans Am encounter at Queensland Raceway.
From pole position, Herne got the hole shot in his Garry Rogers Motorsport-run Ford Mustang to lead into turn one.
Just behind him, third place starter Tim Brook locked up and drove his No.38 into the side of Owen Kelly in the No.73 entry.
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Nathan Herne claimed victory in the opening Trans Am race at Queensland Raceway (Daniel Kalisz)
The pair duly speared off the road, taking the No.67 of Nash Morris with them for a tour of the gravel trap.
That would drop the trio to the rear of the 29-car pack, handing Kostecki second and third-generation racer Jett Johnson third.
Come lap two, the No.23 driven by John Hollinger spun after contact by Adam Hargraves in the No.20 car.
On lap four, the Safety Car was drawn onto the course when Tom Hayman spun at turn two.
After a brief intervention, racing resumed on lap six with Herne in the No.1 at the head of the field followed by Kostecki, Johnson, Brett Holdsworth and Cody Burcher.
Nathan Herne (right) leads the Trans Am points (Daniel Kalisz)
Despite the off-track excursion, Kelly rose to 17th at the time of the yellow flag with Brook in 19th while Morris was still some way off in 24th.
Nic Carrol in the No.48 limped his car back to the lane with damage on the restart, ending his race in the pits.
Come Lap 7, Kostecki made a mistake at turn three, which allowed Johnson to blow by.
At the front of the field, Herne was untroubled and eventually came across the line 1.7 seconds clear of Johnson and Kostecki.
Herne’s win comes just days after he declared he would be able to hold his own against Bathurst 1000 podium finisher Kostecki.
“It’s a shame what happened to Owen,” said Herne.
“Whilst we are title combatants, it’s a shame to see your team[mate] off at turn one. Hopefully he didn’t have too much damage and was able to recover a bit.
“Look, it was good to get the GRM No.1 back up the front and for Valvoline and everyone that supported us throughout the year.
“Sydney was a bit of a shocker for us but we’ve come back strong and hopefully continue on for the rest of the weekend.”
Holdsworth was fourth while Lachie Dalton was one of the biggest movers of the race, climbing seven positions to finish fifth.
Kyle Gurton occupied sixth, Kyle Gurton seventh, and Ben Grice eighth. Kelly recovered to ninth while Rice was the last of the top 10 runners.
After his first lap kerfuffle, Brook wound up 12th while Morris never really recovered and only ended up 24th.
Turtle Wax Trans Am continues as part of the SpeedSeries bill at Queensland Raceway on Sunday with Race 2 at 12:55pm and Race 3 at 3:25pm.
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