Jim Beam Racing’s Steve Johnson has bounced back with a great drive to record a Top 10 finish in the final race at Perth’s Barbagallo Raceway today. Qualifying for both races today left the #17 DJR Falcon in tough starting positions as the team decided to conserve tyres and ensure Steve had brand new Dunlop hard & soft tyres for the final 50 lap race.
In the morning race Johnson had a long battle with Todd Kelly in the early laps but could not make much progress up the field. Pitting on Lap 24 for soft tyres Steve had good late race pace and improved his position passing Todd Kelly and Jono Webb to grab a top 20 result.
The final race saw Steve start well and he dived down the inside of a big group into Turn 1 to finish the lap 4 places up on his starting position. The race turned to his advantage with a Safety Car and Pit Stop timing perfectly for his pit stop. With cars behind a slow Safety car, Steve grabbed track position and resumed in 12th place. The challenge now was to get 35 laps out of the Dunlop Sprint Tyre and Steve set about moving into the Top 10.
A great move on Rick Kelly consolidated 9th place but a fast closing Tim Slade dropped Johnson back to 10th when the chequered flag fell.
“We did not have the best qualifying today. Starting back there made it hard but we did improve the car with its tyre life which was really good for us in the latter part of the final race.” Steve said “I could see Robbo up the road but I just couldn’t get him in the end. But everyone who was behind me at the restart burnt up their tyres and I could hold our speed. It was a change to have the Safety Car and our Pit Strategy work in our favour. To finish in the top 10 was a good day for the Jim Beam team” Johnson concluded.