From the Box: Matt Naulty’s take on the Chaz factor
He watches and calls the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series action as it happens. Some would say he has the best seat in the house. His name is Matt Naulty, one of Australia’s most experienced race commentators, sharing the ‘box with Greg Rust.
Exclusive for the TCR Australia website, Naulty writes about ‘The Chaz Factor’ – why he is a deserving leader of the series, why he is the benchmark, and why he is good for the turbo-charged series.
“If I’m to pick the biggest highlight of the 2021 season, it has to be Chaz Mostert and the way he has burst onto the TCR scene,” said Naulty.
“The Chaz Factor is real, and it’s off the charts.
“And let’s face it, it was probably always going to be like this. We know how good he has been in the Supercars Championship. He is one of the top five drivers there, so when it became apparent that he’d race in TCR Australia this year, we knew that he would be one of the strongest contenders.
“What I really like is that Chaz is proving that the BOP (balance of performance) doesn’t really matter. There’s been lots of BOP talk this year, but what he is showing is that the quality of driver is paramount.
“Chaz has carried a fair bit of weight this year, both from a global BOP stand point and the driver compensation weight. But even with that lugged on his Bostik Audi, he has still won races and taken podiums. It shows his class.
“My Chaz highlight for the year has to be when he tried to pass his team-mate Luke King on the grass, down the main straight, at top speed, at Phillip Island. That was some pretty scary stuff.
“When that was going on, both Rusty and I went speechless. Our job is to talk about what’s happening, and we both stopped talking! I don’t remember ever being like that in a commentary box. We both thought someone was going off, and as we know, there’s rarely a small accident at Phillip Island.
“That move, even though it didn’t come off for Chaz, showed how much he really wants to win this. Sure, he has his Supercars and GT World Challenge commitments – he has a lot on his plate this year – but his desire to win is greater than most.
“And it’s great to have Chaz there, offering an important measuring stick for the next crop of talent. Any of the young guys like Jay Hanson, Ben Bargwanna, Zac Soutar, Michael Clemente and others will see how much they need to raise their games to be on the same level as a world-class driver like Chaz.
“The next stop of the TCR Australia calendar will be Morgan Park in about a month’s time, and it is such an unknown.
“My gut feel is that it will be the closest we’ll see Chaz getting reined in. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Michael Caruso. If that bad luck is gone, he’ll be in the mix, because the Alfas should be a good little weapon around there. Same with James Moffat and Dylan O’Keeffe too – they just need some luck.
“So, can anyone beat Chaz to the title? It will probably require a couple of DNFs from him to put others in the game, but that’s been the great thing with TCR Australia – you just never know what’s next.”
Round 5 of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series will be held at Morgan Park Raceway on June 25-27.
Tickets must be pre-purchased. CLICK HERE to secure your place at the Queensland venue.