A mechanical failure threatened to end John Lodge jnr’s debut early but a big effort behind the scenes got him back on track at the Newcastle Supercars.
It earned the Sawyers Gully 28-year-old another shot in the V8 Ute support class on Sunday and he repaid the favour, turning a non-finish in race two into a midfield 11th in race three just a few hours later on his new hometown circuit.
“I blew a diff in the centre [in race two] and the boys rallied up and found one somewhere,” Lodge said.
“Aaron, Tommy, Kyle and Luke all came together and got it done. It was a massive effort.”
The local driver, who normally steers speedway cars, had a strong contingent of support trackside which he described as a “big Lodge family reunion”.
To compete in front of them in familiar surrounds was the ideal scenario.
“It’s still a dream come true,” Lodge said.
“I never thought I would even be racing a ute, let alone racing at the Newcastle 500.”
He started race three 19th on the grid, but slowly made his way through the field during the 10-lap contest.
“I started off at the back but I knew I could get up there so I just kept chipping away and in the end it all came together,” Lodge said.
“I can’t complain. I tried my best and went my hardest.”
The overall winner of the last V8 Ute series for 2017 was Kim Jane by two points after finishing third in race three at Newcastle on Sunday.
Elsewhere in Sunday’s support classes Cameron Mason was 6th in race one of the Touring Car Masters, Warners Bay 19-year-old Charlotte Poynting was 18th in race three of the Aussie Race Cars and Gavan Raynolds was 19th in race three of the Toyota 86 Racing Series.
Read more: Your photos from the Newcastle 500