Despite a character-building Sunday at Sydney Motorsport Park, Nulon Racing remains focused on the positives.
Today’s on-track Sydney SuperNight event program was markedly different from Saturday’s schedule for the Supercars competitors, with a 15 minute qualifier ahead of a 36-lap/140km race, all run during the day.
While qualifying was difficult – with Slade locking down P17 in the #23 Nulon Racing Camaro and Golding starting P20 in the #31 Nulon Racing Camaro – things looked exceptionally positive off the race start, with both entries each gaining three positions by the end of the first lap.
Unfortunately for Golding, his hard work was swiftly undone when he was sent off track on lap two by Thomas Randle, seeing him forced to work his way back up through the field.
By the time the first teams began taking their compulsory pit stops around lap 16, Slade had further advanced to P13 while Golding had recovered to P19, with Slade stopping on the next lap for four tyres. Golding and his crew meanwhile elected for an alternative strategy, waiting until lap 22 to pit for four tyres.
By the time the checkered flag flew, both entries had been able to advance up the field to finish P12 (Slade) and P16 (Golding), an improvement of five and four positions respectively. Golding had actually crossed the line in P17, but was elevated a further position when Macauley Jones was served with a five-second penalty for a late-race driving infringement.
“It was a long day out there,” Nulon Racing Director of Engineering, Geoff Slater, said.
“In the #31 we got pushed off track quite early by Thomas Randle in the #55, which kind of put our strategy on the back burner.
“We ran long to try and have better tyres at the end than most, and we had good car pace, but as things turned out we lost out a bit by running a bit too long.
“The #23 stopped short to try and take advantage of an undercut. Tim had a good start and was up to P13, and then managed to find another spot in the pit stops. He did have to defend a bit at the end, but P12 was a good recovery from where we started.
“So, it wasn’t the day that we wanted, and we didn’t end up where I think we could have been. But we moved forward, and we made progress even in the face of a number of challenges.
“As always, there is a lot for us to take away from this event and we will go back to the workshop and continue to do all we can to improve for the next one.”
Slade said he was disappointed with his qualifying performance but was pleased with the race recovery.
“I am a bit disappointed with myself; I struggled in qualifying, and it is a bit of ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ for me there, as the car was definitely capable of more than where we ended up,” Slade explained.
“That made the race a little bit difficult, having to start further back. And we didn’t quite have the ideal car balance, so we struggled a little bit in the race.
“But even so, we managed to move forward into P12. It would have been nice to sneak into the ten of course, but that is all we had today.
“We have a big sponsor ride day tomorrow, so there are plenty more laps around this place to come for Jimmy and I, and I am looking forward to putting some big smiles on the faces of our team’s partners tomorrow.”
Golding also lamented his qualifying performance and the early race contact, while highlighting that there were still positives to take away.
“Like Tim it was a bit of what could have been for me also in qualifying,” Golding said.
“I had a bit of an error over the back and ended up P20, so I had a lot of cars to pass in the race.
“I got a couple at the start, and it was looking all right until we got speared off on one of the corners of lap two, so we had to claw our way back from pretty much the back of field after that.
“We ended up coming back through to P16 and now we have a lot to go through and a lot of work to do ahead of the next race. As always, we find the positives and the areas we can work on and do all we can to do better next time out.”
Cheering the team on today from the pit garage was Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Dylan Brown of the NRL’s Parramatta Eels, with the pair presenting a jersey each to team owners Peter and Carmen ahead of this afternoon’s race.
“My wife Carmen and I are big Parramatta Eels fans, so we were certainly very pleased to host Reagan and Dylan in the garage today and give them an up close and personal experience of Supercars racing here in Sydney,” Nulon Racing Team Owner, Peter Xiberras, said.
“Hopefully they will enjoy their Nulon Racing shirts – the Eels jerseys they gifted us will going up on the wall at the Nulon Racing headquarters at Arundel very soon!”
Nulon Racing will next be on-track with the Supercars Championship for the OTR Super Sprint at Tailem Bend Raceway across August 18-20, 2023. For event information, visit www.supercars.com.au
For more information on Nulon Racing, please visit www.premiairracing.com or follow the team on its social media platforms at www.facebook.com/PremiAirRacing/, www.instagram.com/premiair_racing/, www.linkedin.com/company/premiairracing/ and www.twitter.com/premiairracing