Penrite Racing’s Jobe Stewart avoided chaos and raced sensibly to pick up his first podium last night and become the youngest ever podium-getter in the Supercars Pro Eseries.
Race 9 – Michigan
A rolling start saw the field go green as Jobe got away well from 19th in their first outing on an oval. With spotters taking on a different job of not only calling strategy, engineer Wayne Mackie helped Jobe move through the field and keep out of trouble.
On lap three drivers started to get pushy at the front of the field and Jobe navigated his way through an incident to move up inside the top ten. He raced wisely and positioned the car well, though a bump and grind with Shane van Gisbergen saw the youngest racer drop back to P13 on lap seven. He gathered it up and kept on the back of the group and capitalized again when Josh Muggleton and Jake Blackhall came together. It happened a second time between Muggleton and Josh Anderson two laps later, and again Jobe moved through the wreck to pop out the other end in second.
The Penrite racer took his compulsory pit stop on lap 18 and a long stop saw him emerge 14th once the stops cycled through. In a huge effort, Jobe never gave up and drove through the action right until the end. He made the most of another incident involving Muggleton and moved up to fifth as they approached the last laps.
The categories youngest driver put his car into fourth as they went around a final time, and in a huge move he came out of nowhere and split van Gisbergen and Jarrad Filsell through the middle in what looked like a move for the lead. It made for a picture-perfect finish, though with the Red Bull Holden cars working together, Jobe just missed out on the win and settled for his first podium with third, becoming the youngest podium-getter of the Eseries.
Race 10 – Michigan
A full reverse grid set the start of the night’s second race, with the challenge set from P21. It was no different to the opening race though, with Jobe and Wayne working together to navigate the oval circuit.
With cars often four-wide, the #999 picked a low line on lap three and moved up to P15 as cars went sideways. He was the biggest mover in the pack and moved up to sixth before pitting at the end of lap 17.
Jobe worked his way through the banking and emerged fourth at the end of the pit cycle. With the field extremely close, it was 12-car battle for a spot inside the top ten, with the #999 moving up and down the order.
As the finish line came up, Jobe sat sixth and avoided final crash at the exit of turn two. The #999 driver went to the inside and picked up the tow to cross the line just outside of the podium in fourth, a massive 17 spots up from where he started.
Race 11 – Monza
Drivers went to Italy next, with the grid determined by a second qualifying session. Jobe got away well from 15th and was quick to pick up a position, before three cars went into one as they made their way through the first lap.
Jobe avoided the carnage and pushed through to P10 before the end of the lap as he settled into a good rhythm. He continued to race well and position the car in the right spots, though slight contact with Andrew Gilliam at the turn two chicane saw the pack break up and Jobe drop to P15.
With a fuel element added for the first time in the series, drivers and teams had to elect how much fuel to use in their stops. The #999 pit on lap eight for his drop and held onto P15 as the pit stops cycled through. It was where experience shined brightly, with both Josh Anderson and Fawzan El Nabi both not taking enough and needing to pit a second time before the flag.
Jobe moved up to P12 by the final lap though a bump and run by Jackson Souslin-Harlow saw the Penrite racer drop one spot before the finish line, rounding out his best night in the series in 13th.
Jobe Stewart was happy with how night went: “I was disappointed with qualifying. We worked on drafting during the week and my last lap at Michigan I got baulked by another driver so I didn’t manage to get my quickest lap done. Our plan though was to just keep out of trouble and work out way forward. It was great to have Wayne spotted me and he made the right calls all night.
“I have done a little bit of oval stuff but nothing like this, this is the most competitive series I have been in so to get a podium is awesome. It was really cool, we got beaten to the line, but I’m stoked to get the Penrite car on the podium, and I want to thank Wayne and the whole team.
“In race two I just kept listening to Wayne and we continued to make the right calls. Our goal was to be close to the front at the end and I was pushing for another podium, but we just missed out.
“Again, I wasn’t happy with qualifying at Monza but I got a good start and as cars went off I just tried to settle into a rhythm. Going into turn one I had a car coming up the iniside and I tried to carry more speed around the outside and I tagged Gillian. He checked up a little more than I expected and that put us back a fair bit. Our race pace was good though and we did our best to finish out the night well. It was a great night and I’m looking forward to next week.”
Next week’s racing heads to Spa and a yet to be determined location, which will be decided by fans.