Edwards: Why Best wildcard was so important

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 05/08/2022
  • By James Pavey

Wildcards help young drivers like Zak Best learn the “gulf” in levels between Supercars and Super2, says Tim Edwards.

Best wildly impressed in a fifth Tickford Racing Mustang at the OTR SuperSprint.

The 20-year-old scored a shock pole and raced to fifth on Saturday.

A day later, he put ructions of tyre batches to bed with seventh in Race 23 qualifying on Sunday.

It comes as Best looks to rise to the main game in 2023, with several seats up for grabs.

For the time being, all four Tickford seats are accounted for.

Possible vacancies may present themselves at the likes of Blanchard Racing Team and PremiAir Racing.

For now, Best has made the most of his chances in the big time.

Best caught the attention of points leader Shane van Gisbergen, who after their Race 21 battle, said he had a bright future.

Edwards used the example of Cam Waters, who suffered a baptism of fire in the main game despite dominating Super2.

Waters won the 2015 Super2 title in a canter, but stumbled to 19th in his first full season in 2016.

He since matured and is now a constant title hopeful.

“He’s quiet, he certainly doesn’t overthink it. There’s some raw talent there,” Edwards told Supercars’ Cool Down Lap podcast of Best.

“These wildcard opportunities are the best way for him to understand where his level needs to lift to.

“You can be having a stellar career in Super2; look at Cam Waters when he debuted.

“The year he won Super2, he literally obliterated everybody.

“Got to the main game and, ‘Holy shit’, it was an eye-opener for him.”

Best told Supercars.com after Saturday’s race that he was “super nervous” and that he "didn’t know what to expect”.

However, he spent time holding off van Gisbergen, and denied Brodie Kostecki, Broc Feeney, David Reynolds and Anton De Pasquale.

Critically, he played the team game and was the perfect foil for Waters, who battled with a flat spot.

Edwards reiterated that Best’s Saturday speed was no “flash in the pan” once he qualified seventh on Sunday.

A failed wiper motor brought his efforts to a premature end, but Edwards believes the weekend will hold Best in good stead.

“It’s why we need to blood these young kids,” the Tickford boss explained.

“They need to understand there is a gulf between Super2 and Supercars.

“The more opportunities they get to get on the race track with their heroes… the better prepared they’ll be when they finally make the transition.”

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