Highs and lows at Retro Round for Jack Smith

I spent this year's Supercars Sandown 500 Retro Round doing social media for the Brad Jones Racing Super 2 Series #21 car of Jack Smith. I put together a short wrap of the weekend for the team and wanted to repurpose it for myself.

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It was a weekend of mixed conditions and mixed results for Jack Smith in the #21 SCT Motor Sport Team Commodore.

Friday – Practices 1 and 2

Friday’s practice results did not go the way Jack Smith had hoped to mark his opening laps of the weekend at the Penrite Oil Sandown 500. Running in the top 8 for the first half of Practice 1, Jack got into a bit of trouble during the session triggering two red flags. 

Unfortunately, Practice 2 unfolded in much the same way as Practice 1, resulting in a small drop down the order from the Practice 1 finish when the chequered flag flew. 

Finishing 7th with a 1:09.30 in Practice 1, and 10th with a 1:09.11 in Practice 2, the team looked to make some set-up changes to improve their position going into Saturday’s qualifying session.

Saturday – Qualifying

What had hoped to be a promising start to Saturday’s qualifying, ended with disappointment. The team had made some changes to try to come back from Friday’s lacklustre results. However, the gains they were looking for didn’t eventuate. 

Throughout most of the 15-minute session, Jack was sitting in the top 8 when he locked a wheel and speared into the infield halfway through the session. Unable to recover, Jack finished in P13 with a best time of 1:09.15.

Saturday – Race 1

It was a wet and wild start to the first race of the weekend with about half the field, including Jack, opting for a change to wet tyres just moments before the green flag. The last-minute change proved fruitful, with Jack ultimately crossing the finish line in P2.

“Most people were on wets, but maybe five cars were on slicks, and they ended up having to pit during the safety car and change to wet. Without the team making the decision, we would have been in a lot more strife.”

Jack Smith

However, contact with Matt Chahda early in lap one resulted in a 15-second time penalty levied against Jack.

The only safety car of the race was triggered on lap 18 when Brenton Grove speared off into the grass due to contact with another car and hit the wall at Turn 3.

Resuming at lap 15, the now time-certain race saw more spins and offs from several competitors as well as increasingly wet conditions.

The shortening of the race combined with the 15-second penalty relegated Jack back to 9th place.

Sunday – Qualifying

The grey, but dry skies made for a much better start to the day than Saturday. Super2 Series qualifying was the first session on track, paving the way for the rest of the day’s events.

The time to beat, a 1.09.02, was set early by Ash Walsh. The majority of the field, including Jack, opted to pit midway through the session. 

With two minutes left, Jack set his first representative lap, jumping to 6th, before quickly being bested and falling down the order to 9th, finally finishing in P13 with a 1.09.00, six-tenths off the pole sitter, Image Racing’s Jordan Boys.

Sunday – Race 2

In stark contrast to Saturday’s race, Race 2 started sunny and dry. Running a similar set-up to yesterday, Jack and the team were looking to capitalise on the gains they made from their setup tweaks going into Saturday’s race and come back from the less than ideal qualifying position. 

The session start was delayed due to a crash in the earlier Toyota 86 session. Even though the delay caused the race to go time certain, all 22 laps were completed.

Unfortunately, Jack had a bit of trouble during the start, and he dropped back to 15th just off the line. Struggling to drive a car he wasn’t entirely happy with; he managed to recover three spots to finish in 12th.

“It was a terrible race from the start. The car wasn’t as I’d like it and I wasn’t driving as I like to. There aren’t many positives from today.”

Jack Smith

Jack finishes the weekend 7th in series points with 890 points, 746 adrift from the series leader, Bryce Fullwood. Catch the Super2 Series for their final round of the year at the Coates Hire Newcastle 500 from 22-24 November.

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