Nathan "Nitro" Pretty cleaned up Round 2 of the Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series - protected by Armor All, putting himself in the Series lead after claiming Race 3, Race 4, the Round win and the lap record (1:03.0611) at Symmons Plains, Sunday, 1st March.
This was Pretty's first Race and round win in his Monster Energy Holden, and is now one point ahead of Rookie Kris Walton in the ENZED Driver's Championship.
"We are very happy, winning the round was an unexpected bonus, my biggest thing is consistency now, if we can maintain that we can win the Series.""I'd like to dedicate this win to Jennifer Taber who lost her battle with Cancer last year; her husband is here for the first time with us. I'm very happy for the team with the amount of work the boys have been putting in back at the work shop. For my sponsors who have stuck by me, we've been trying to get this win for a while, I've been here twice now and had two wins so I'll be coming back," said Pretty.
Pretty started on the front row for Race 3 and led straight off the line ahead of Rentco Racing's Kris Walton, who dropped back after lap two when he was taken by Cameron McConville under brakes at the end of the back straight.
West Coast Racing's Jake McNally was squeezed into the Wall by Phonsy Mullan mid race between Turns 3 and 4 taking the youngster out of the Race and setting up a 4 lap safety car period.The restart came after lap 10 and Pretty was quickly in the groove setting a new lap record. McConville's Bundaberg Holden was also under the lap record , taking out second for the Race as well as the Round.
Walton, Andrew Fisher and David Sieders crossed the line in third, fourth and fifth respectively. Kim Jane had a great Race in his Bob Jane T-Marts Holden moving up from 11th to finish in sixth ahead of Craig Dontas in 7th. Gary Baxter, who just signed a multi- year deal with Sage Automation, claimed 8th after a tight tussle with Ben Kavich in 9th and Jesse Dixon's Ice Break Holden who rounded out the top ten. The youngster, having his first race weekend under the Chris Pither Scholarship Award, was very impressive in his V8 Ute debut.The Race was finished under double yellows due to Gerard McLeod and Warren Millet going off at the last turn at the hairpin on the final lap.
Prior to the start of Race 3, Series leader Ryal Harris was excluded from the results of Race 2 following a technical infringement with the rear suspension, and forced to start from the rear of the grid for Race 3.An all Holden front row set the grid for Race 4, with pole sitter Pretty quick off the line from McConville. Andrew Fisher and Kris Walton made contact at the start causing the Jesus Racing Ford to spin into the wall on the main straight. Fisher recovered and joined the field.
Pretty kept the lead for the rest of the race with David Sieders moving through the field from fourth, taking Kim Jane on Lap 4.
A safety car came into play after Phonsy Mullan slid off the track at turn 1 into the sand-trap. At the restart, Sieders sets his sights on McConville and took him on the front straight claiming second for the Race. McConville held on to 3rd, cementing his second place outright for the round. Jane was next over the line ahead of Ryal Harris whose gritty drive back through the field netted 5th place after starting from 17th. Kris Walton came home in sixth and claimed third overall for the round. Thirsty Camel's Craig Dontas finished 7th, ahead of fellow South Australian Gary Baxter in eighth, Rhys McNally (Stratco Racing) and local Adam Beechey rounding out the top 10.
Auto One Wildcard driver Greg Crick drove well to finish the race in 16th, finally getting on top of some electronic issues that plagued the team over the weekend, while new-comer Hayley Swanson wrapped up 22nd overall for the round in her V8 Ute debut.Daniel Kennedy claimed the SS Inductions Hard Charger Award for passing 14 Utes in Race 2. Ryan Hansford took out the Champion Hole Shot Award and $500 cash for the best race start in Race 3.
Warren Millet won the Masters Award for the best performing driver over 45 years of age. Nathan Pretty now leads the series from Kris Walton, Andrew Fisher, David Sieders and Ryal Harris.The V8 Utes will hit the track again for Round 3, at the Trading Post Perth Challenge 4- 6 May at Barbagallo Raceway but to re-cap on all of the action from Round 2 tune in to Network Seven over the Easter Weekend, 7th and 8th of April, make sure you check your local guides for more information.
See below top five results from Race 3
1 56 Monster Energy Nathan Pretty Holden SS VE 1:03.0611R 2 61 Bundaberg Racing Cameron McConville Holden SS VE 1:03.16 3 68 Rentco Racing Kris Walton Ford FG 1:03.40 4 9 Jesus Racing Andrew Fisher Ford FG 1:03.71 5 8 Tradequip David Sieders Ford FG 1:03.72 Click here <http://login.ireach.com.au/ch/16769/2d7rw44/1654352/87692ntp.html> to view full results from Race 3
See below top five results for Race 4
1 56 Monster Energy Nathan Pretty Holden SS VE 1:03.26 2 8 Tradequip David Sieders Ford FG 1:03.155 3 61 Bundaberg Racing Cameron McConville Holden SS VE 1:03.4341 4 27 Bob Jane T-Marts Kim Jane Holden SS VE 1:03.7341 5 58 Rexcel Ryal Harris Ford FG 1:03.5739