A strong fight back from Jason Richards has landed the Kiwi in the top 10 in the third round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series in Western Australia, May 13-14.
The Sleepyhead Commodore driver's weekend underwent a remarkable turn-around as his Tasman team chased a setup that would help push the Bathurst runner-up to the front half of the pack.
After being 27th fastest in practice on Friday and finishing yesterday's first race in 18th, Richards was ninth in today's reverse grid race and charged through the field in the last race from 15th on the grid to take eighth.
A worrying moment came for him on lap six when he pitted. After taking his compulsory tyre change, Richards was driving down the remainder of the pit lane when he was run into by HSV DT driver Rick Kelly, who was exiting his pit box after his stop.
The contact affected Richards' steering, while Kelly received a drive through penalty for the collision.
The result was good enough to put Richards ninth for the round, his highest ever result at Barbagallo and it also bounced him forward six positions in the championship to 15th.
Team-mate Andrew Jones finished 20th in yesterday's opening race but also improved his #23 Commodore, which allowed him to hold off defending V8 Supercar Champion Russell Ingall in the reverse grid race to run home in seventh spot.
Two separate hits from other drivers cost him a total of six spots in the final race and he could do no more than push onwards after them.
He finished 18th in the final 140-kilometre race, good enough for 15th for the round overall.
Tasman Motorsport will now head to its test circuit at Winton Motor Raceway in just over a week's time in preparation for the fourth round of the series at their home circuit on June 2-4.
The team's endurance signings for the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000, Owen Kelly and Mark Noske, will have their first drive of the team's Commodores as well at the test.
Jason Richards (#3 Sleepyhead/Tasman Motorsport Holden Commodore VZ)
"I guess you could call it a great escape coming from 27th in practice on Friday to finish ninth for the round, but as an escape it's got nothing on those miners in Tasmania!
"In the first two races we lost a total of 11 spots in our pit stops so we had to make sure that didn't happen in the last one.
"When Rick Kelly ran into me in the pits, I was really worried about the car. After the contact it understeered quite badly from that point on, but whether it was steering damage or the fact that I had two new rear tyres on, I'm not sure. But we moved forward for the day and the car actually was strong in the latter stages of race three."
Andrew Jones (#23 Sleepyhead/Tasman Motorsport Holden Commodore VZ)
"We chased the car all weekend and made even more changes for the last race. For the first half to three-quarter race distance it wasn't too good but it came on really well in the last part of the race. It balanced out, which was a nice surprise, but by then it's too late in the weekend for it to really affect your overall result.
"In the reverse grid race I kept Ingall at bay under a fair bit of pressure, but in the last one I copped two separate hits down at Kolb Corner that pushed me wide and I lost three spots in each of them.
"They were fairly decent hits and I was a fair way into the corner before I copped them, which isn't how you expect to be treated when you're minding your own business. Being 15th overall after the horror day we had on Friday isn't too bad."
Round 3 Results, V8 Supercar Championship Series - Perth V8 400, WA
1. Steven Richards, #7 Jack Daniel's Commodore VZ, 290 pts
2. Mark Skaife, #2 HRT Commodore VZ, 286 pts
3. Craig Lowndes, #888 Betta Falcon BA, 282 pts
4. Garth Tander, #16 Toll HSV Commodore VZ, 274 pts
5. Mark Winterbottom, #5 FPR Falcon BA, 268 pts
6. Russell Ingall, #1 Caltex Falcon BA, 250 pts
7. Rick Kelly, #15 Toll HSV Commodore VZ, 224 pts
8. Steven Johnson, #17 First Rock Falcon BA, 220 pts
9. Jason Richards, #3 Sleepyhead Commodore VZ, 208 pts
10. Jamie Whincup, #88 Betta Falcon BA, 202 pts
15. Andrew Jones, #23 Sleepyhead Commodore VZ, 164 pts
Championship Points After Round 3
1. Russell Ingall, #1 Caltex Falcon BA, 790 pts
2. Garth Tander, #16 Toll HSV DT Commodore VZ, 776 pts
3. Steven Richards, #7 Jack Daniel's Commodore VZ, 772 pts
4. Rick Kelly, #15 Toll HSV DT Commodore VZ, 763 pts
5. Craig Lowndes, #888 Betta Falcon BA, 710 pts
6. Steven Johnson, #17 First Rock Falcon BA, 695 pts
7. Mark Winterbottom, #5 FPR Falcon BA, 689 pts
8. Jamie Whincup, #88 Betta Falcon BA, 676 pts
9. Paul Dumbrell, #11 Jack Daniel's Commodore VZ, 662 pts
10. Mark Skaife, #2 HRT Commodore VZ, 598 pts
15. Jason Richards, #3 Sleepyhead Commodore VZ, 461 pts
18. Andrew Jones, #23 Sleepyhead Commodore VZ, 444 pts
Teams Championship Points After Round 3
1. Toll HSV Dealer Team, 1539 pts
2. Jack Daniel's Racing, 1434 pts
3. Team Betta Electrical, 1386 pts
4. Dick Johnson Racing, 1178 pts
5. Stone Brothers Racing, 1160 pts
6. Ford Performance Racing, 1149 pts
7. Holden Racing Team, 1098 pts
8. Supercheap Auto Racing, 947 pts
9. Tasman Motorsport, 905 pts
10. WPS Racing, 882 pts