The Shell V-Power Racing Team has already cast its gaze to Sunday after a bruising first race day of 2023.
Both Dick Johnson Racing Team Mustangs missed a Top Ten Shootout berth, which set the tone for a luckless afternoon.
Will Davison raced from 14th to 13th, with Anton De Pasquale 18th in the race after qualifying 17th.
De Pasquale was spun into the Turn 8 barriers by Todd Hazelwood early in the race, and was in recovery mode from there.
The #11 Ford was eventually lapped by winner Shane van Gisbergen, with Cam Waters (#6 Monster Mustang) the first Ford home in third.
De Pasquale was classified 19th, but was reclassified in 18th after a time penalty was applied for Thomas Randle (#55 Castrol Mustang).
In a team release issued after the race, Team Principal Ben Croke said the team will burn the midnight oil to overturn its deficit.
"It was a challenging qualifying session this morning and in this series, qualifying is key to how you go in the race,” Croke said.
"So after a bit of a challenging qualifying this morning with an issue on No.17 and probably not the pace we would've liked on No.11 it kind of sets your day up from there.
"Starting mid-pack for Race 1, the cars got beaten up and Anton got turned around, so for him to fight back and finish in the teens and not give up was great of him.
"The beauty of this series is we don't start where we finished today, we get a chance to reset overnight, we come back and we qualify again tomorrow.
"Tomorrow is a new day and we'll be working hard overnight to get a bit of pace for qualifying and then we can go on from there to Race 2.”
Cars will return to the track on Sunday for ARMOR ALL Qualifying at 11:15am local time.
The Top Ten Shootout (12:35pm) will set the grid for the 95-lap Race 2, which is scheduled to commence at 3:20pm.