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Ross’ Race Meeting Wrap Up – Sydney Telstra 500

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Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  Sydney Telstra 500

Ross’ Race Meeting Wrap Up – Sydney Telstra 500

Ross Stone/Stone Brothers Racing
December 11, 2009

It is always exciting to go to a new race venue so we were all looking forward to the Sydney Homebush event. When I arrived at Sydney Olympic Park on the Wednesday there was only the Dunlop transporter parked up inside the indoor centre and it was dwarfed by the sheer size of the massive building. It was great to have everything setup inside like that and also gave the spectators a chance to escape the Sydney summer heat.

The whole Homebush event had such a great atmosphere and was the perfect way to finish off the V8 Supercar season. I know that no one would have left disappointed as all the teams and drivers turned on some great racing in front of over 185,000 people that turned out over the three days.

Our cars were quick straight out of the truck on Friday with Shane ending up 3rd fastest at the end of the three practice sessions.

We were disappointed the next day when we didn’t qualify well but I knew we had good enough race speed to make up for it over the 74 laps. I believe in the race that Shane was heading for his first career podium before he had to take avoiding action after Cameron McConville nosed his car into the tyre wall and Shane was left with nowhere to go.

Shane managed to get going again but the incident cost him a lot of time and positions, rejoining the race in the middle of the field. We were pleased with his finishing effort of 10th while Alex had a day to forget finishing 20th.

On the Sunday we qualified 16th and 19th after both drivers fell victim to traffic on their fastest runs. Some were lucky but we just got caught out.

At the green light both cars got a great start but early in the race Shane was given a black flag and served a drive through penalty for touching up FPR’s Steven Richards. I thought that Shane probably deserved the penalty but I still haven’t even looked at the in-car footage so it’s hard to say exactly what happened there.

It was a long hot race with only 16 cars finishing the 250kms. Shane ended up 6th which put him 4th overall for the weekend. Unfortunately those that needed to have a bad run in order for Shane to move into the top ten in the Championship standings finished the race in front of him.

Alex also had a good day and raced well to finish 9th. It was great to have two cars in the top ten and finish the 2009 season strong.

On Sunday night a few of the team flew home and some on the Tuesday morning after the V8 Supercars Gala Awards Dinner. The rest of us stayed in Sydney for our corporate ride day on Wednesday flying home that night.

On the Tuesday we all had the day off and were invited to visit the Holdsworthy Army Barracks. At the Australian Grand Prix this year Alex and Shane were offered to take a ride in a Blackhawk, but this time the whole team were invited to fly.

When we arrived we were all given a tour of the facility, I was amazed at the procedures and systems they have in place for every tiny detail, the whole place was immaculate and very impressive.

We unpacked the cars and set them up for a photo with one of the Blackhawks and I am sure you will all agree we ended up with a fantastic shot (below)!

The Army crew all then had a close look at the cars with some of them jumping into the driver’s seat while David; our team manager gave a bit of the talk about V8 Supercars. It was great to see how excited the SBR boys were to be there.

When it was time to fly we were all given a quick safety briefing before we were split over three Blackhawks.

It’s hard to explain what it’s like when you’re in one of those things but I know it was written all over my face for at least the next 4 hours. I was amazed at the skill of the pilots and flight crew as we travelled in convoy through the city and over Sydney Harbour.

I was lucky enough to have a head set on the entire time and it was really interesting to listen to the crew talk throughout the flight.

When we landed you could see on everyone’s face just how great it was, although there were a couple that were feeling a bit crook!

I would like to thank the crew at the 6th Aviation Regiment, they are such a great bunch of guys and gave us a once in a lifetime opportunity that I know none of us will ever forget.

The next day we had a ride day at Eastern Creek where we got through 88 rides in each car. Some of the 6th Aviation Regiment guys made it out there for a ride and I know Shane and Alex both put on a good show for them!

Before we close the doors of the SBR workshop for Christmas we have another ride day on Wednesday next week at QLD Raceway and a test day on Thursday. During the test we will try out a couple of things for next year as well as give Tim Slade a run who will be driving our third car next year under James Rosenberg Racing. We look forward to working with Tim and feel he has a bright future ahead of him in V8 Supercars.

Earlier this week I went to a board meeting at V8 Supercars ahead office and it has been released to the teams that any driver that starts the season in their own car has to remain in that same car for the enduro races. This now means that next year Alex and Shane will be unable to pair up for Phillip Island and Bathurst. The hunt for our 2010 enduro drivers begins..........

Christine Buckley from the Ford Motor Company left today and I would like to thank her for her help and support over the past year, SBR wish her all the best.

Finally thanks for your support this season, without you there is no team!

Have a great Christmas break and safe holiday!

Ross Stone

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