After struggling to hit his marks on the fast and technical temporary street circuit in yesterdays practice session Adelaide local Craig Dontas flipped a switch over night, and became the class of the field winning Stadium Super Trucks round No. 1 on Friday afternoon.
Pole sitter Bill Hynes of Nazareth, Penn.; would jump out to an early lead in the Fleurieu Milk entry, and lead the first lap of competition before Dontas driving the Shannons Insurance/ Milwaukee Tools truck would work his way around Hynes to the front from his third starting position.
While Dontas was checked out at the front of the field all the action was behind him as Paul Morris of Norwell, Queensland and Gold Coast, Queensland driver Matt Brabham aggressively charged past truck after truck from their seventh and twelfth starting positions to the withstand a plethora of contact and spinning trucks to set themselves up for a shootout for the win the final two laps with Dontas.
As the three diced back and forth for the lead on the restart after the competition caution the red flag would be displayed for an accident by Mesa, Arizona driver Gavin Harlien just as Morris would take the lead from Dontas. The race would be ended under the red flag for clean up, resulting in the finishing order to be reverted to the last completed lap.
This would grant Dontas the first victory of his young SST driving career in just his fourth ever start. Morris would be credited with the second position in the SuperCheap Auto/ Hungry Jack’s entry, while Brabham would round out the podium in his Safecraft Safety Equipment truck.
Making his return to racing after suffering a badly broken leg in early January at the Dakar Rally. Australian 2-wheel legend Toby Price of Aberglasslyn, New South Whales would immediately move his McDonald’s truck forward from his tenth starting position at the wave of the green flag.
Following the tracks of 2015 & 2016 SST Champion Sheldon Creed of El Cajon, Calif.; Price would look to the inside of Creed on Lap-2, but the two would tangle with Price receiving extensive damage to his hood. With the Preston Hire hood bouncing all over the place Price’s vision would be hindered as he worked his way up to the fourth position by Lap-3. Price would remain in the fourth position the rest of the event after shedding the hood.
After making his SST debut at last year’s Clipsal 500 Travis Milburn of Adelaide, Australia looked to improve on his finish of last year. Keeping the truck clean with conservative driving Milburn would avoid all obstacles bringing home the TRG Transport SST to the finish in the fifth position.
Penola, South Australia driver Greg Gartner finished a respectable sixth place in the R&J Batteries/Delkor Calcium/ Fuchs entry after running near the front of the field the first few laps before getting shuffled backwards.
Creed the fastest competitor on track by far would fall victim to a costly mistake to be credited with the seventh finishing position. Not making a make a stop and go penalty for driving through the rocks would place force race control to place Creed at the end of the field at the competition caution. Creed would just run out of time to advance to the front after the race ending early.
Burbank, Calif.; driver Erik Davis in the Always Evolving/AerNow truck would drop two positions from his sixth starting spot to finish eighth after bouncing off multiple trucks and keeping things rolling forward the entire race.
After receiving a stop and go penalty for driving through the rocks on Lap-2 Jeff Hoffman of Phoenix, Arizona would quickly learn about SST racing after encountering contact with a few other trucks in his first SST race. The Royal Purple Synthetic Oil truck would be credited with the ninth position.
First position starter Bill Hynes of Nazareth, Penn. would encounter mechanical issues at the beginning of the race setting the United Fiber & Data entry back multiple laps off the start. The No. 57 would be recorded in the tenth position at the completion of the eight laps.
Orange, Calif. driver Robby Gordon back driving his familiar orange and black SPEED Energy/ Toyo Tires truck for the 2017 season would encounter a broken axle early in the race, and would never move forward from his 10 starting position finishing the 8-lap race coasting around the rear of the field. Gordon would go on to be credited with the eleventh finishing position.
After making contact with Erik Davis and rolling over on Lap-8 Gavin Harlien would be scored in the twelfth and final position in his Royal Purple Synthetic Oil truck.
The SST trucks will return to the Adelaide Street Circuit for there second round of the Clipsal 500 on Saturday at 1:30 pm local time in front of an anticipated capacity crowd of over 150,000 motorsports fans.
Tickets for this weekend’s Clipsal 500 Adelaide event are still available for purchase by visiting http://www.ticketmaster.com.au/Clipsal500
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