Jason Bright is the defending winner of the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy, and he is well on his way to securing that honor once again in 2014.
Jason Bright won the pole for the first race at Auckland this weekend, but he had a five-time V8 Supercar champion starting alongside in the form of Jamie Whincup. Jamie got the jump on Bright at the start and took command of the 35 lap sprint race early on.
On lap three, contact between Chaz Mostert and David Wall sent David careening out of control and into, yep, the wall. The car was damaged beyond repair and the team was forced to withdraw from the other three races scheduled for this weekend unfortunately.
After leading the first third of the race, Whincup suddenly had an off-track excursion that cost him the top spot, but that was only the beginning of his problems. His power steering had failed and at a track like Pukekohe Park Raceway, it's nearly impossible to maintain control without it. He was forced to pit and went on to finish 24th in the 25 car field.
With Whincup's misfortunes, that returned the lead to pole-sitter Jason Bright. As he ran away with the win, others battled fiercely for position deep in the pack. Most notably was the six-lap duel for 9th place between Scott McLaughlin and Garth Tander. They swapped the spot four different times and were not bashful about leaning on each other. Scotty ended up triumphant in the end.
Things settled down from that point on, with the only major incident in the final quarter of the race being Mark Winterbottom's spin while battling for 6th on the penultimate lap. The race was cut two laps due to a time limit but that wouldn't have changed the outcome any. In cruise control, Jason Bright took the checkered flag by 1.6 seconds over Shane Van Gisbergen. Points leader Craig Lowndes crossed the line 3rd.
The complete top ten finishers in order were Bright, Van Gisbergen, Lowndes, Courtney, Davison, Percat, Coulthard, McLaughlin, Tander, and Moffat. Races two and three will take place tomorrow are also 35 lap sprinters.