Supercheap Auto / Norwell Motorplex driver Nash Morris converted pole to a dominant lights-to-flag win over Josh Haynes and Dylan Thomas in Race 1 of Round 3 of the 2023 TA2 Muscle Car Series at Queensland Raceway, headlining the Hi-Tec Oils Super Series at the 2 Days of Thunder.
Morris set provisional pole in qualifying ahead of Dylan Thomas and Jackson Rice this morning. The last man out in the Top 10 Shootout scored pole position by nine-tenths of a second with a 1:11.6950 lap in the Supercheap Auto Mustang, with CXC Racing’s Dylan Thomas joining him on the front row.
Prior to Race 1, all drivers came together at the start finish line to honour the life of former TA2 Driving Standards & Prosecuting Officer Geoff Leeds, where Queensland Raceway announced that a Geoff Leeds Memorial Trophy will be awarded to the driver that best embodies Leeds’ mantra of ‘Race Hard, Race Fair, Give Racing Room and Respect Your Fellow Competitor’ across the weekend.
Reverend Steve Peach from the Southport Church of Christ lead a moments silence and a prayer before drivers returned to their cars for the start of the race.
Morris lead the field away off the start before controlling the lead for the remainder of the race.
Josh Haynes moved up to second past Thomas down the front straight on the opening lap, as Thomas closed out the podium from Rice.
Rookie Hayden Hume scored a strong top five finish over Russell Wright, who made amends after a two-place penalty in qualifying for impeding another car to move forwards from eighth to sixth.
Chris Pappas placed seventh ahead of Brad Gartner, who charged forward five positions from 13th, as Hugh McAlister and Nicholas Bates rounded out the top ten.
After missing qualifying with a clutch issue, Hayden Jackson moved forward from the back of the grid to 12th.
The TA2 Muscle Car Series framed by Hytek returns for Races 2, 3 and 4 at 9:30am, 1:15pm and 3:05pm respectively. Race 2 will be live streamed on the TA2 Facebook Page while Races 3 and 4 will be shown live on SBS, Fox Sports and Kayo.
Nash Morris, #67 Supercheap Auto / Norwell Motorplex Ford Mustang
“It was a good race. It was pretty hot out there, I wasn't cruising, but I was still trying to manage my car for tomorrow. We’ve got a pretty big day of racing with three races tomorrow. I was still pushing pretty much the whole way through but I didn't want to take too much out of the tyres.
“We don't get too many tyres in the TA2 Series, so it's all about managing what you got and managing it over the weekend.”
Super2 Series driver Nash Morris will join a 20-strong grid for Round 3 of the TA2 Muscle Car Series framed by Hytek, headlining this weekend’s 2 Days of Thunder at Queensland Raceway with the Hi-Tec Oils Super Series.
Morris, son of 2014 Bathurst 1000 winner Paul Morris, will take to the track in the Supercheap Auto Ford Mustang after a race-winning return in the National Trans-Am Series at Phillip Island in May.
After a thrilling Round 2 in Darwin where he and co-driver Tim Brook claimed the ‘Kings of the North’ title, CXC Racing’s Dylan Thomas leads the series by six points over Pedders Suspension & Brakes Mustang driver Jackson Rice. Thomas’ co-driver Brook will return to the paddock at Queensland Raceway to support Thomas’ bid for the title.
Reigning Masters Class champion Nicholas Bates sits third overall on 368 points, with young charger Josh Haynes 11 points back in fourth.
Kobelco Motorsport’s Michael Coulter returns after a podium finish in the first two-driver race in Darwin alongside father Steve and sits seventh in the points, behind IES Motorsport’s Graham Cheney in sixth.
Total Parts Plus Motorsport’s Hayden Hume will continue his strong rookie charge after back-to-back Racetech Rookie of the Round performances at Winton and Darwin.
Inaugural Australian TA2 champion Russell Wright is set for his TA2 comeback this weekend after a strong cameo appearance as a co-driver for Rob Leonard at Round 2 in Darwin. Following Wright’s comeback announcement earlier this week, he has welcomed onboard Crew Commercial as the major backer on the number 55 Mustang.
Leonard returns this weekend to fight it out in the Circo Masters Class against the likes of Mark Crutcher, Greg Keam, Michael Rowell and Paul Hadley.
Hayden Jackson, Brad Gartner, Chris Pappas, Hugh McAlister, Bernie Walsh and Kubota Racing’s Matt MacKelden complete the grid.
The TA2 Muscle Car Series fraternity will come together before Race 1 on Saturday to honour the life former Driving Standards & Prosecuting Officer and Australian motorsport veteran Geoff Leeds. Once cars form up on the grid for Race 1, all drivers will stand at the front of the grid for a short tribute and a minutes silence. Each car will also run a sticker on the rear quarter in memory of Leeds.
The weekend schedule will kick off with five practice sessions on Friday. A 15-minute Qualifying session will be held at 8:45am on Friday, followed by a Top 10 Shootout at 11:05am to set the grid for Race 1. Four sprint races will be held across the weekend, three 12-lappers and a finale over 20 laps. Race 1 will be held on Saturday at 2:25pm. Race 2 on Sunday morning will be streamed live via the TA2 Racing Australia Facebook and Hi Tec Oils Super Series’ Facebook and YouTube channel, before Races 3 and 4 will be included as part of the series live broadcast on SBS Viceland and SBS On Demand, Fox Sports and Kayo Sports.
Nash Morris, #67 Supercheap Auto Ford Mustang
“Queensland Raceway is close for us, probably only 40 minutes up the road for us, so we thought we might as well go up there and race.
“It’s the 2 Days of Thunder, which was an event we did last year and the year before. It’s a pretty cool event and you normally get a few spectators to it too, so it will be good to take the Supercheap Auto Mustang there and hopefully achieve a good result in the TA2 Muscle Car Series.
“We had the car on display at the Supercheap Wildcard Launch Event last weekend and everyone loved it out there. Most people were wondering ‘what is this?’ A lot of them were pretty diehard Supercar fans that were at that event, but also some people that were pretty new to the sport so it was cool to show it off there.
“I watched some of the racing up in Darwin and the first round at Winton and guys like Josh Haynes and Jackson Rice and Brad Gartner are all going pretty good.
"I love driving these TA2 cars and enjoying myself driving them so we’ll head to Ipswich and have some fun this weekend!”
SCHEDULE TA2 Muscle Car Series framed by Hytek 2023 Round 3 - Queensland Raceway 2-4 June 2023 All times AEST
FRIDAY Practice 1: 9:39am (19 minutes) Practice 2: 11:09am (19 minutes) Practice 3: 12:39pm (19 minutes) Practice 4: 2:09pm (19 minutes) Practice 5: 3:39pm (19 minutes)
SATURDAY Qualifying: 8:45am (20 minutes) Top 10 Shootout: 11:05am Race 1: 2:25pm (12 laps)
SUNDAY Race 2: 9:32am (12 laps) Race 3: 1:14pm (12 laps) Race 4: 3:04pm (20 laps)
BROADCAST TIMES: Live stream: Sunday 9:30am to 12:45pm (TA2 Racing Australia Facebook, Hi Tec Oils Super Series Facebook & YouTube) Speedweek: Sunday 1pm (SBS Viceland, SBS On Demand, Fox Sports, Kayo Sports)
ENTRY LIST TA2 Muscle Car Series framed by Hytek 2023 Round 3 - Queensland Raceway
#4 Mark Crutcher (NSW), Ford Mustang - Crutcher Developments #6 Hugh McAlister (NSW), Ford Mustang - McAlister Motors #7 Jackson Rice (VIC), Ford Mustang - Pedders Suspension & Brakes #8 Chris Pappas (QLD), Ford Mustang - WealthRite #11 Michael Coulter (NSW), Chevrolet Camaro - Kobelco Motorsport #13 Greg Keam (NSW), Ford Mustang - Debeers Refinish #15 Michael Rowell (QLD), Ford Mustang - Norwell Racers #22 Brad Gartner (SA), Ford Mustang - Castec Rural Supplies/MVA Racing #24 Nicholas Bates (NSW), Ford Mustang - Sullivans #37 Josh Haynes (NSW), Ford Mustang - Beaches SEADOO #40 Robert Leonard (QLD), Ford Mustang - Access Linemarking Equipment/Municipal Works Australia #45 Hayden Hume (QLD), Dodge Challenger - Total Parts Plus #50 Paul Hadley (NSW), Chevrolet Camaro - IES Motorsport #51 Graham Cheney (NSW), Chevrolet Camaro - IES Motorsport#52 Bernie Walsh (QLD), Ford Mustang - Red Point Racing #55 Russell Wright (QLD), Ford Mustang - Crew Commercial #67 Nash Morris (QLD), Ford Mustang - Supercheap Auto #68 Dylan Thomas (NSW), Ford Mustang - CXC Racing #81 Hayden Jackson (NSW), Dodge Challenger - MGW/Team RSG #99 Matthew MacKelden, Ford Mustang - Kubota Racing
Dream Racing Australia’s Jackson Rice is aiming to leave Queensland Raceway on top of the TA2 Muscle Car Series standings following Round 3 as part of the Hi Tec Oils Super Series this weekend.
Just a five-point margin separates Pedders Suspension and Brakes-supported Rice from current series leader Dylan Thomas ahead of four races in the Sunshine State.
It comes after a taxing weekend in Darwin where Rice teamed with Dream Racing Australia’s National Trans Am Series contender Tyler Everingham for the world’s first two-driver endurance race for TA2.
Since Darwin, Rice’s Pedders Ford Mustang has been completely overhauled featuring a fresh transmission and body. Rice has already completed a shakedown of the rebuilt Mustang, which has given him confidence ahead of Queensland Raceway.
Rice has not only aided in the preparation of his Pedders Mustang for Round 3, but also Dream Racing Australia’s entries for Winton the next weekend in the National Trans Am Series.
Round 3 of the TA2 Muscle Car Series takes place at Queensland Raceway as part of the Hi Tec Oils Super Series in conjunction with the circuit’s traditional 2 Days of Thunder meet on June 3-5. Sunday’s action will be livestreamed between 9:30am-12:45pm on TA2 Racing Australia’s Facebook before Speedweek will broadcast live from 1pm.
#7 Pedders Suspension and Brakes/Dream Racing Australia Ford Mustang
“We’ve put in a lot of hours,” said Rice.
“Darwin took a big toll on the car, but we’re probably not the only competitors in that boat. We pretty much stripped down the car to the chassis and rebuilt it, full transmission, full body, before a shakedown, which went really well.
“I’m excited to head up north with the new gear in it and to see how it all goes. It’s been a massive amount of work for the turnaround that we’ve had. Cam (Fisher), myself and all the boys probably did three and a half weeks work in eight days, so it was a pretty big period for us, but I’m glad it’s all ready to go.
“The good thing about the rebuild was the opportunity to get a shakedown done to get a feel and the confidence to know everything is all good.
“I’d like to hope I can leave with the series lead. It’s a very tight competition, so my aim is to maximise points to give myself a gap to the drivers behind and try to capitalise on catching Dylan (Thomas). He is very quick, but I think as long as we just keep it on the road and put our best foot forward we’ll recoup some points so we come away with the lead.”
Inaugural Australian TA2 champion Russell Wright will make a stunning return to racing the TA2 Muscle Car Series framed by HYTEK Steel Framing for the remainder of this year’s season.
After hanging up his helmet early last year, the Gold Coaster made an impressive return to TA2 racing recently at Round 2 at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway for what was the world first TA2 two-driver event, where he paired with Rob Leonard in the #40 “Slow Down Workers Around” Access Linemarking Equipment/Municipal Workers Australia Mustang.
After a successful weekend in Darwin, the pair came home with the Bowdens Own Best Presented Award and had a strong points finish in seventh overall.
Wright has purchased the Aaron Seton ex 2021 Ford Mustang that was owned and prepared by Harris Racing. Seton drove the car for five rounds before he moved into the Dunlop Super 2 Series. The keys were then handed to John Harris, Craig Harris’s son, who raced it in the National Trans Am Series for a number of rounds.
Wright has applied his traditional yellow colour scheme to the Mustang, that features major backing from Wright Property Investments.
Wright was the first Australian to venture to join the American Trans-Am Series TA2 class in 2018, when he raced at the Circuit of the Americas as reward winning the 2017 title. Wright had a competitive outing with Stevens-Miller Racing, the same team Nathan Herne now drives for full time.
A strong field is expected to hit the track this weekend for Round 3 of the TA2 Muscle Car Series framed by Hytek, with the Hi-Tec Oils Super Series heading to Queensland Raceway as part of their annual 2 Days of Thunder event. CXC Racing’s Dylan Thomas leads the championship going into Round 3 closely followed by Jackson Rice and Nicholas Bates.
Russell Wright, driver #55 Ford Mustang - Wright Property Investments
“Darwin was a great round for me. It had been around a year since I had raced a TA2 car and I was very thankful to Rob and Jill Leonard for giving me the opportunity to drive the car up there.
“I have been asking myself for the last year about getting back into the category and Darwin definitely was the catalyst that made me decide I was missing the action.
“I have seen a massive change in the series, there is now a mixture of older guys and so much younger talent coming into the series. It is developing into a great class and the competition has lifted since I last raced.
“I can’t wait to hit the track on Friday at Queensland Raceway for Round 3 of the series and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.”
Veteran touring car star and motor sport administrator Geoff Leeds passed away this morning in Brisbane after a relatively short battle with cancer. Geoff was active in the sport until his diagnosis earlier this year and for the last four seasons was the Driving Standards and Prosecuting Officer for the TA2 Muscle Car Series.
In a driving career spanning 35 years, Geoff was an active competitor predominately in Touring Cars, racing a Torana XU1 and other class cars during what many would say were the golden years of touring car racing - the Moffat, Brock, Johnson, Jane, Grice, Geoghegan, Goss era. He lined up on the grid at Mt Panorama for 23 consecutive starts in the Great Race at Bathurst in everything from Minis to a Camaro. He was once quoted as saying. “I was desperate to race at Bathurst no matter what, but to get a CAMS licence you had to have a parent’s signature if you were under 21 and I knew Mum wouldn’t do it, so I forged her signature.”
Geoff grew up in Bathurst, living in the historic Tattersalls Hotel (now called the Elephant & Castle) just 3km from the track, so was inevitably exposed to motor racing from a young age. With co drivers such as Japanese Touring Car Champion and Le Mans 24 hour Winner Yoshimi Katayama, Ford Cortina and later Porsche pilot Jim McKeown, (who was a runner up in the Australian Touring Car Championship to the great Norm Beechey in 1970), F5000 Australian Gold Star Champion John Leffler, “King of the Privateers” Terry Finnigan, plus other Australian Championship winners, Geoff achieved a class win, numerous class placings plus a number of top 15 finishes with a best result of 8th outright in the 1991 Bathurst 1000. During a stellar five-year period in the 1970s, Geoff finished first, third and fourth in his class in successive years driving his own Ford Escorts, then fourth with Jim McKeown in a Mazda RX3. For five years he co-drove Finnigan’s Commodore achieving his highest outright result.
He wrapped up his racing career with a stint in Aussie Racing Cars. After hanging up the helmet and gloves, he became the General Manager/Motorsport Manager of Oran Park promoting the Australian Touring Car Championship, the Australian Super Touring Car Championship and Australian Sports Sedan Championship. So respected in the industry, he had a street named after him in the housing development that enveloped what was the original Oran Park circuit, along with Brock, Moffat, Bond and others. In 2002 he was approached by V8 Supercars to become the IPO (Investigating and Prosecuting Officer) for the V8 Dunlop Development Series with Colin Bond as the Driver Standards Advisor - a position Geoff held for 2 years.
He was dealer principal at a number of successful car dealerships in Sydney in his earlier years before moving to Queensland with his wife Sandra in 2007 operating a series of retail outlets. Due to the burgeoning success of the TA2 Muscle Car Series, Geoff was appointed to the Driving Standards and Prosecuting Officer’s role and was highly respected by all. Geoff was perfect for the position. He had the history and track record to cut through the driver spin, ensuring his decisions were fair and transparent, based on knowledge in all levels of competition. While drivers may not have always agreed with his decisions on the day, they all respected it came from someone who had over 35 years of experience fighting for track position against the best drivers in the country during that era.
His son Ben remains active in the motor sport industry, engineering Jett Johnson to the TA2 Muscle Car Series win last year for Team Johnson, and now works for PBR Distributions, delivering and servicing the PBR Spec TA2 race cars from the PBR factory at Hillcrest.
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