HOWARD RACING TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP HOPES DASHED Gold Coast based Howard Racing Team have endured one of their toughest days since joining the HPDC V8 Supercar Series in 2002, after both BA Falcon's, of Mark Howard and Adam Macrow were forced...
HOWARD RACING TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP HOPES DASHED
Gold Coast based Howard Racing Team have endured one of their toughest days since joining the HPDC V8 Supercar Series in 2002, after both BA Falcon's, of Mark Howard and Adam Macrow were forced into early retirement during the second of three races at Mallala International Raceway today.
After the jubilation of winning their first ever pole position yesterday, today's events left the team wondering how it all went so wrong.
Macrow starting from pole in the opening race, got too much wheel spin off the start leaving him back in fourth place at the first turn. A loss of momentum put him back to eighth place while team mate Mark Howard gained two positions to move up to position sixteen.
Macrow quickly regained two spots and diced for fifth position with Phil Scifleet for a couple of laps before disaster struck. As Macrow was attempting to reclaim fifth position at the end of pit straight Scifleet turned into the Howard Racing Team driver, puncturing his left front tyre and damaging body work which forced Macrow into the pits.
While Macrow was in for repairs Howard pulled away from the battled he had developed with Jay Verdnik and started moving his way up the order.
Macrow eventually rejoined the race in 23rd place but was two laps down on the rest of the field. By the time the chequered flag fell Howard had moved into twelfth position but Macrow was left to settle for 21st. The race was won by Dean Canto from Mark Porter and Warren Luff.
Both Howard Racing Team drivers lined up for the reverse grid race buoyed by the knowledge they would have the chance to make up some good ground in this race, with Macrow starting from grid position four and Howard from position twelve.
Both drivers got away well and Macrow moved into second place straight off the start. Macrow and race leader Dale Brede pulled away from field unaware of the carnage unfolding behind then when the Ben Savage Commodore spun right in front of Howard leaving the Gold Coast businessman with no where to go but straight into him.
Subsequently Mark Porter who was right behind Howard was also left with no where to go, colliding with the near stationary Howard Racing Team Ford Falcon BA and damaging the rear end.
Howard had hoped to continue on in the race but within a lap, a fuel leak became evident and Howard was requested to return to the pits by AVESCO officials. Upon further inspection by the Howard Racing Team the fuel tank was found to have ruptured ending Howard's hopes of moving up the championship ladder.
Macrow and Brede battled for the lead and on lap fourteen after placing himself in position to overtake Brede for the lead, smoke began to billow from the rear of Macrow's Falcon race car.
Officials called Macrow in to be inspected and while attempting to limp back to the pits he was overtaken by D'Alberto in a passing move that was optimistic at best, resulting in severe damage to both cars with Macrow taken to the medical centre for observation.
Race two was won by Dale Brede with Gary MacDonald second and Dean Canto third.
Macrow's Falcon sustained too much damage from the two incidents to be safely repaired in time for the third race.
Team owner Mark Howard said everything that could go wrong did go wrong today.
"We really experienced the highs and lows of motor racing this weekend," Howard said.
"It was a shame race two ended for me the way it did as my car was especially good under brakes, the boys had made some shock changes and come up with an excellent race package.
"As a team we need to put today behind us we have lost the championship lead but I made Adam a guarantee at the beginning of the year to provide him with the best equipment possible a small setback such as this won't stop us from honoring this commitment," he said
"We are taking delivery of a new Triple Eight Race Engineering chassis and will be back with two strong cars for Bathurst.
"I am sure Warren and the Howard Racing Crew will have both cars ready and prepared for the challenge of Mount Panorama," Howard added.
A devastated Macrow said he was bitterly disappointed for Mark Howard and the Howard Racing Team who had pulled out all stops to give him the best possible car.
"I am very disappointed," Macrow said. "I was trying to pull of a very clean passing maneuver on Phil (Scifleet) he obviously wasn't paying attention, turned into me and took me out.
"It is an especially bitter blow for Mark Howard and the team who have pulled out all stops to give me the best possible car
"With only two rounds to go the championship is almost out of reach but both the team and I have proven that we can run with the best of them. Our goal for the rest of the year is to re-iterate that." Macrow added
After leading the championship for three rounds Macrow now slips to sixth place on 728 points and Mark Howard is eleventh on 524 points.
Dean Canto won the round ahead of Grant Denyer and Phil Scifleet.
Round Five HPDC V8 Supercar Series Mallala International Raceway
1. Dean Canto (Ford) - 188
2. Grant Denyer (Ford) - 164
3. Phillip Scifleet (Ford) - 162
4. Jose Fernandez (Ford) - 160
5. Gary MacDonald (Ford) - 158
6. Dale Brede (Ford) - 146
7. Tony Evangelou (Ford) - 140
8. Grant Elliott (Holden) - 140
9. Adam Wallis (Holden) - 130
10. Robert Jones (Holden) - 126
11. Mark Porter (Ford) - 120
12. Warren Luff (Ford) - 114
13. Aaron McGill (Holden) - 114
14. Gary Deane (Ford) -- 106
15. Scott Loadsman (Holden) -- 102
16. Mark Papendell (Holden) - 100
17. Dean Wanless (Ford) -- 100
18. Tony D'Alberto (Holden) - 98
19. Jay Verdnik (Holden) -- 90
20. Greg Smith (Ford) - 56
21. Lee Holdsworth (Holden) -- 52
22. Mark Howard (Ford) - 42
23. Dean Savage (Holden) - 26
24. Adam Macrow (Ford) - 24
Top Ten Championship Placing's
1. Dean Canto (Ford) 816
2. Warren Luff (Ford) 798
3. Phillip Scifleet (Ford) 786
4. Gary MacDonald (Ford) 780
5. Tony D'Alberto (Holden) 752
6. Adam Macrow (Ford) 728
7.Mark Porter (Ford)662
8.Jose Fernandez (Ford)614
9.Aaron McGill (Holden) 601
10.Grant Denyer (Ford)590
11.Mark Howard (Ford)524