Reigning Dunlop Super2 Series winner Bryce Fullwood admits podium finishes weren’t on the radar for his first season in Supercars’ top-flight.
The 22-year-old was as surprised as anyone with his third-place finish in the opening leg of the Repco The Bend SuperSprint on Saturday, achieved from 13th on the grid.
While it was a crazy race, the result was far from a fluke - the Walkinshaw Andretti United Commodore had genuine pace and Fullwood made the most of it when it mattered.
“Honestly I didn’t think we’d be getting any trophies this year, so I’m super stoked,” he beamed post-race, besting a previous high seventh scored at the mixed tyre Sydney2 in July.
Fullwood’s Supercars journey didn’t start this year when he joined the new-look WAU as understudy to star driver Chaz Mostert.
He’d been steering Supercars in Super2 since 2015, when he debuted in the second-tier as a 16-year-old driving a Commodore VE, built and prepared by Paul Morris Motorsport.
Subsequent years included stints in a Tickford-built FG Falcon and Kelly Racing-built Nissans at MW Motorsport, and a DJR Team Penske FG X run by Matt Stone Racing.
While major success did not come until his final Super2 season, driving the MWM Nissan, Fullwood was always learning.
“I went through a changing time in Super2, with the Car of the Future coming into the series when I was in an older car, but it definitely serves its purpose,” he reflected.
“This championship is so competitive the whole way through the field that you don’t really have the chance to learn to drive the car.
“Super2 is good for learning the fundamentals and when you get up into Supercars you don’t have to learn how to drive.
“You’ve already got your speed, then you have to learn how to race a bit.
“In Super2 you’ve got a few quick dudes at the front but here in Supercars, the field is very competitive all the way up and down the lane.”
Fullwood had a first-hand view of some hard racing at the front of the pack in the dying stages of Saturday’s race.
His third place came after a post-race penalty for 2012 Super2 Series winner Scott McLaughlin, who was demoted from third to 14th after spinning Lee Holdsworth.
“From my view, unfortunately for Scotty, it looked pretty blatant but I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen there,” said Fullwood of McLaughlin’s incident and penalty.
“Seeing Shane [van Gisbergen], Fabian [Coulthard], Jack [Le Brocq] and Holdsworth from where I was, it was pretty good viewing, they were racing pretty hard.
“After I crossed the finish line my team said Scott had a penalty and we were promoted to third. I was pretty happy with fourth, but third is obviously icing on the cake.”
In his post-race television interview, Fullwood gave a typically honest assessment of the action, declaring that “there was shit flying everywhere in that race”.
Although spending recent years living either on the Gold Coast or Melbourne, Fullwood is the first Northern Territory-raised driver to claim a Supercars podium.
“Through the early days, going through go-karts, it was certainly a lot harder [being from Darwin], but it doesn’t really matter where you’re from, you can make it happen,” he said.
“I’m super-happy to do it for the Territory.”
Fullwood was joined on the Bend podium by another Super2 graduate, Jack Le Brocq, who moved to the top-flight in 2018 and scored a career-first win at Sydney Motorsport Park in July.
Supercars’ other new winner in 2020, Anton De Pasquale, is also a Super2 product, spending two years in the development class before joining Penrite Racing in 2018.