MITCH RANDALL took out the 50-lap opening round of the Mr Modified series in front of a big crowd on Boxing Night at Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway.
Randall was followed to the chequered flag by Lee Gorton, while former Mr Modified winner Andrew Pezzutti was third.
The story of the main event was the performance by runner-up Gorton who came from deep in the field to earn his spot on the podium. Even more impressive, he clinched his second placing right at the end of the race after a battle with Pezzutti in the latter stages.
The competition was intense for the top placings and Randall drove a calculated race for the win.
The event ran relativity incident free apart from only a couple of yellow light caution periods which slowed the action in the latter half of the fifty lapper.
Mark Robinson, one of the pre-race favourites, was an early retirement after his car was hit from behind and the damage forced him out of the feature race soon after the start.
Interest at the head of the field was the battle for the lead between Josh Rose and Randall as Pezzutti, Tony Dunn, Chris Polsen and Brayd Stephenson all ran closely near the head of the field. Rose dominated the first half of the feature before Randall made his winning move with 15 laps remaining.
After such a strong performance throughout the night, Rose faded in the latter stages of the feature race and was credited with a did not finish (DNF) at the 49 lap mark.
Randall came away with the fastest lap on the way to victory in the feature race with a time of 13.717 seconds for a speed of 104.979 km/h.
Rose dominated the earlier events with two heat wins and victory in the Dash. Other heats were won by Chris Polsen, Pezzutti, Phil Roberts and Brayd Stephenson. Rose also topped the qualifying points for the night with an even 100, six ahead of Robinson (94) while three drivers (Pezzutti, Randall and Mark Connolly) all finished on 91 points.
The top ten finishing order in the 50 lap Mr Modified opening round main event were: Randall, Gorton, Pezzutti, Dunn, Polsen, Stephenson, David Blanch, Phil McNamara, Royden Alcorn and Phil Roberts.
It was a tough night for Wingless Sprint driver Ben Hull who collided with Michael Butcher and was sidelined for the rest of the night after his car was badly damaged.
Kevin Willis took out the 25-lap Wingless Sprint feature race from Trent Martin and Jamie Usher.
Other main event winners on the big variety programme were: Shane Newstead (AMCAs), Brock Youngberry (Junior Sedans), Luke Gray (Street Stocks) and Madison Harkin (Production Sedans).
The next fixture at Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway will be January 11 when the final round of the Mr Modified series is held.
With his first round win, Randall is in a strong position on points heading into the Mr Modified series grand final.
Caption: The top three placegetters in the first round of the Mr Modified series at Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway: From left to right it's runner-up Lee Gorton, winner Mitchell Randall (with his daughters) and third-place Andrew Pezzutti. Photo: Tony Powell.