A lot of people think Stock Cars came and went with Bob Jane, but the history of Stock Cars in Australia is more complicated and richer than that.
It all started when Bob Jane took a big chance and created the Thunderdome and it grew to the point we had Stock Cars, AUSCAR, Sportsman and Formula Falcon running around Australia.
Then it all came to a halt in 2000, or did it?
1. Bob Jane (1988-2000)
Bob Jane’s era is the big one, the Thunderdome was in operation and the series expanded to South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia giving competitors two oval tracks and a couple of road courses every year.
AUSCAR, NASCAR, Formula Falcon and Sportsman were the categories that were run at the time.
Tony Kavich was the first AUSCAR champion in 1988 and Robin Best was the first Stock Car champion by winning the 1989/90 title.
Brad Jones won the most AUSCAR championships and Kim Jane won the most Stock Car championships.
Lack of entries, Disagreements, Politics and the rise of V8 Supercars are some of the reasons why the Bob Jane era came to a sudden end after the 2000 Australian Grand Prix weekend.
Attempts were made to restart things in the early 2000’s with the creation of Monaro bodied AUSCAR’s but unfortunately things couldn’t get going again.
2. Future Tourers
AUSCAR was coming to an end in 1999 but Bruce Williams had a plan for the cars and after a couple of name changes the name Future Tourers stuck.
The series debut was a wild time in the rain at Bathurst in 1999 (see the above video) and the series eventually linked up with the Super Tourers who had a rapid fall after TOCA pulled out of the series.
The cars used in Future Tourers continued to compete into the latter half of the 2000’s outlasting the Stock Cars in regular competition.
3. V8 Stock Cars (2001-2002)
The Stock Car gang largely stuck together after the Bob Jane era ended and they were soon racing on road courses in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia as V8 Stock Cars under The Power Tour (check out the archived website).
Andrew Miedecke won the 2001 season in convincing fashion though Dick Howe, George Elliot, Rusty French and Tony Southwell all snagged wins that year.
It is often claimed that the final race was in 2001 but they went around again in 2002 by competing at Mallala, Oran Park and Queensland Raceway.
The Power Tour that hosted V8 Stock Cars pulled the plug in mid 2002 and it all but brought the curtain down on the series.
Four cars competed at Winton at an event later that year under the V8 Stock Cars banner.
4. Mat Lagoon
Mat Lagoon tried to keep things going for a couple of years with the USA Stock Car Challenge (archived site) and Mat had several cars in his stable with tryouts run at the Thunderdome with the aim of sending somebody to the USA to compete as well as establish a local competition.
Matt Lagoon, Col Lagoon, Tony Southwell, Terry Wyhoon, Tim Wallis, Allan Roark, Mike Herman, Mark Harrison, Stephen Clarke and Sean Henshelwood were listed as “The Crew” over the years the program existed.
Around this time was the Stockcar Australia Road Series.
5. Historic Stock Car Racing Series Australia
Rowan Harman tried to get things going with Historic Stock Car Racing Series Australia, a website established in 2010 and discussions continued on in the AUSCAR Racing FB group into 2011.
One interesting bit is that a thread at tentenths.com revealed the possibility of 68 Stock Cars existing in Australia at the end of 1999, just over a third of them are confirmed to be existing in 2023 with the rest unknown.
Greg McIntyre and Graham Struber founded OzTrucks. (check out the archived oztruck.com site)
OzTrucks brought about a big change to Stock Car racing in Australia, these vehicles are like the Trucks you see in the Craftsman Truck series but there are differences though this does not impact the action or the fun.
OzTruck #85 had a shakedown in 2010 and racing was in full swing in 2011.
The series ran at a couple of tracks and the series even had Chaz Mostert having a run in an OzTruck with Chaz picking up one win at Queensland Raceway.
Michael Coulter won the championship in 2011 and Ryan Cochran won the championship in 2012.
After the series ended, most of the OzTrucks found a new home at Stock Cars Australia.
7. Brian Walden (Founder of Stock cars Australia)
Brian Walden and Graham Booth came up with an idea in 2012 and soon Stock Cars Australia was formed with racing commencing in 2013, SCA had Stock Cars and GTA in the nation’s south while some of the OzTrucks from the north came down to play.
Changes in OzTruck ownership caused the majority of the available OzTrucks to reside closer to Stock Cars Australia action and helped steady field numbers.
Rusty French who had previously raced in V8 Stock Cars had a run in the series in 2014 and 2015 picking up one win in the 2014 round becoming the only driver to win a race in both the V8 Stock Cars era and the Stock Cars Australia era.
Stock Cars Australia shared races with Super TT and TA2 and the category steadily grew over the years under Brian’s leadership until he moved on to other things.
8. Zac O’Hara (Stock Cars Australia)
When Brian Walden moved on to other things, somebody had to step up and keep Stock Cars Australia alive and Zac O’Hara put his hand up for the job.
SCA has seen a big growth under Zac’s leadership with several Stock Cars joining the competition, a dozen OzTrucks are turning up for races, AUSCAR owners are bringing their cars as well as a growing Muscle Division category giving spectators plenty of choice.
Spectators can see Stock Car models like the Chevrolet Lumina, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Chevrolet Silverado and Maloo (OzTruck), Ford Thunderbird and Ford Mustang with the Pontiac Grand Prix model a future entrant.
AUSCAR models are of course the Ford Falcon and the Holden Commodore.
August 2023 will be Stock Car racing’s return to Calder Park Raceway for the first time since V8 Stock Cars back in November 2001.
3 thoughts on “The Eras of Australian Stock Car Racing”
Great to see a short history of Stockcars Oz trucks and Aus cars in Australia. Looking forward to more stories in the future.
It has been expanded a bit to include more detail, it will probably be adjusted to the end of time as any creator is never fully satisfied with their work and seek improvements.
There are plenty of stories to come, lots of vehicles restorations to cover and round previews and recaps and much more, things are on the up.