In front of grandfather Dick and father Steve, Jett Johnson became another third generation driver to win a major touring car title by claiming the TA2 Muscle Car Series – framed by HYTEK at the final round at Winton Raceway.
The series battle came down to the wire, with Johnson’s NAPA Auto Parts Mustang taking the title by 108 points from the Illawarra Engineering Services Camaro of Graham Cheney, with Nicholas Bates Mustang in third overall and winner of the Circo Master Class.
Cheney battled all weekend to finish after suffering a lung infection and spending time in ECU in the lead up to the weekend.
Race 2 started on a wet track with Jackson Rice on the move early to take Michael Coulter and Peter Robinson, and then Johnson for third.
Series front runner Mark Crutcher had an off at Turn 11 which brought out the safety car to set up a one-lap dash to the flag, with Kyle Gurton winning from Brad Gartner and Rice.
The track was dry for Race 3, however a touch between Bates and Johnson at Turn 3 saw Bates off the road while Gartner grabbed the lead off the start. Mark Crutcher retired with a broken ball joint, while Bates also pitted before returning to add to his points tally.
Gurton started to pressure Gartner’s before Rice joined the party to slot into second, with Gartner going on to set the fastest lap and take his maiden TA2 win from Rice and Gurton, as Johnson crossed the line to secure the TA2 title with one race to spare.
The final race saw Johnson hit with a five-second penalty for being out of line on the rolling start, however it mattered little with the series already beyond question.
Gartner, Rice and Gurton turned on a great show at the front of the field, before Gartner arrived full steam into the Turn 8 sweeper and slid into the infield on Lap 3 and rejoined in third.
Crutcher was up to seventh from the rear of the grid, while Rice went on to win his first TA2 race from Gurton, Gartner, Johnson, Michael Coulter who was having a strong run and Peter Robinson who wrapped up the Circo Master class for the weekend.
Gurton claimed his maiden TA2 round win and RaceTech Rookie of the Round honours from Gartner and Rice, as Rice came away with the Bowden’s Best Presented Award in the IMMIX-sponsored Mustang.
Brad Gartner scored the Hyperco Hard Charger Award for passing ten cars in Race 1, while Michael Coulter earned the Wilwood Big Braker Award for a solid weekend in the Kobelco Mustang.
Johnson now sits alongside another third-generation racer in Aaron Seton to have won a TA2 title. Cheney finished the season in second overall from Nicholas Bates in third who claimed the Circo Master class series win and the Racetech Rookie of the Year Award.
Kyle Gurton, #2 Nuveau Constructions Ford Mustang
“Those last two races Jackson got his stuff together. We really had to push and fight for it and tried for a mistake, but Jackson was flawless in that last race and managed to take the last race win.
“This was just a bit of testing towards the end of the year. We were just testing some different things with the car, but it is always good to come out and have a crack at the same time, but maybe next year we will be in TA2 a bit more hopefully.”
“Awesome round from TA2 and Hytek, awesome for AMRS for putting it together. Thanks to all the officials and sponsors who made this happen.”
Jett Johnson, #117 NAPA Auto Parts Ford Mustang
“I want to firstly thank all the guys on the spanners for me and making all this happen without Benny, TG and Dad we would not be here. All the sacrifices Dad has made and Mum for everything they do for me.
“I want to thank all my sponsors NAPA, Shell, Pirtek and everyone else for all the support they have given me and believing in me, it’s just incredible.”
Nicholas Bates, #24 Precious Metal Panel Beating Ford Mustang
“Its nice to have some guys to race at the same pace, it is very competitive but a whole lot of fun.
“I am very happy, I can’t thank my crew enough cause we finished every race and I have made a mess of it sometimes but they have cleaned it up so it is pretty much down to them.”