A podium finish for Tasman Motorsport’s Jason Richards went begging following a wild and wet end to last weekend’s Jim Beam 400 at Oran Park Raceway in Sydney.
Having started from pitlane after switching from slicks to wet weather tyres, Richards was running second – and looked on target to finish second overall – but a Jason Bright off brought the first of three late race appearances of the Safety Car.
That’s when all of the fun and drama started.
“When Bright went off and the Safety Car came out it all started,” Richards said. “I’m sure it made for some interesting racing with all the crashing and bashing going on, but I’m not sure many of the team owners will be happy with all the bent cars.
“There were a couple of restarts and when that happens you’ve got trouble – I got drilled by blokes a lap or two down and I also nudged a couple cars. It hurt us.
“Like everyone else, we made a mistake by going with slicks for the final race but my Grove Tasman Motorsport Commodore was a fast car in the wet, so we made ground up quickly.
“When the Safety Cars came out we didn’t have the speed when the temperature dropped and we were a little hamstrung.
“We’re disappointed, it’s another that got away from us. Seventh is okay, but we wanted better.
“What’s encouraging is we showed better speed throughout the weekend, and that’s good for confidence heading to Sandown and Bathurst. We can really turn the year around.”
Richards’ teammate Greg Murphy’s weekend fell apart after Saturday’s top 10 result in Sunday’s first 46-lapper – he nudged the wall in the #51 Grove Tasman Commodore which required an early pitstop for another tyre; soon after, he received a mechanical black flag.
In the final race, Murphy moved from the rear of field to 15th, but he too was involved in several incidents in the wet conditions, ultimately finishing 22nd.
Richards finished seventh overall for the round while Murphy was 18th.