Zak Best has set the Dunlop Series pace in opening Thrifty Newcastle 500 practice, which featured two red flags.
The first hit-out of the year for Super2 and Super3 drivers ended with Best topping the times after 50 minutes of running.
The session was red-flagged twice, first for a crash for Aaron Seton at Turn 6, before Brad Vaughan ran long at Turn 2.
Where Vaughan got away unscathed, Seton was the first victim of the new season after just 20 minutes.
Seton was being followed by Best when he fired into the Turn 6 barriers along the beach section.
Later, Vaughan ran up the Turn 2 escape road, and was unable to find reverse.
The session declared with three minutes remaining during the Vaughan stoppage, ensuring Best ended Practice 1 on top.
The 22-year-old enjoyed a 0.2502s margin over Eggleston Motorsport rookie Kai Allen, with Jack Perkins third.
Cooper Murray made it two Eggleston Commodores in the top five, with Ryan Wood sixth ahead of Vaughan.
The opening 10 minutes of the session were dedicated to rookies, with 16 drivers across Super2 and Super3 rolling out.
There was action from the outset, with Lochie Dalton running up the Turn 2 escape road.
Walkinshaw Andretti United rookie Wood was the early pace-setter with a 1:17.0933s.
Vaughan went even faster, before running wide at the Turn 11 hairpin and scraping the wall on driver’s side.
Wood then improved into the 1:15s, with Murray’s 1:15.5423s the benchmark as the remainder of the field rolled out.
Jason Gomersall and Chris Smerdon both bowled wides at Turn 2, with Wood also running off at Turn 11.
Ryan Gilroy also ran long at Turn 1, before Seton nosed his #30 Commodore into the barriers at Turn 6.
Replays showed Seton taking too much inside kerb, with Best watching on as the #30 nudged into the barriers.
Zane Morse later avoided a similar fate, with Vaughan’s error at Turn 2 drawing an early end to the session.
The top 10 drivers were covered by 0.9465s, with Allen, Murray and Jobe Stewart completing the most laps with 22.
Super2 and Super3 drivers will return to the Newcastle streets on Friday for Practice 2 at 12:50pm local time.