It was a case of never too late for Jason Bates as he won his first feature race of the 2017-18 season at Valvoline Raceway on Saturday night. Starting the 20-lap final from position four, Bates made a strong move early and by the completion of the opening lap was up to second place. On lap seven he made the move for the lead and despite a number of late-race cautions, went on to record a solid win. It was also his first podium finish this season. Club Championship leader Mark Blyton was the early pacesetter after starting on the front row with Luke Sayre. Blyton led the opening seven laps whilst Sayre slipped down the order to fifth. The race was run at a cracking pace with passing a plenty all the way through the 24-car field. The feature race looked like it was going to run non-stop however a caution four laps from home bunched the field up and set the race up for a grandstand finish. On the restart Mitchell O’Brien made contact with the wall on the main straight, while running sixth. He was able to continue however his chances were dashed. The final four laps were then run incident free although the sizable cushion in turns three and four made for a number of heart-stopping moments as frivers battled for positions. Finishing in second was Jeff Thomas. It was a consistent run for Thomas who spent the entire race nestled inside the top four and in third was Luke Sayre. Initially Sayre dropped back to fifth and spent the majority of the race there before clawing his way back for a podium finish. Fourth was Dean Thomas. Dean did a tremendous job after starting the feature race from position 10. It was a tough night for Dean after being forced to start his heats from the rear for being a late nomination. Rounding out the top five was Tyson Williams. It was heartbreak for Williams as he was holding down third place but hit the cushion in turn four and fell off the track. It was still a solid performance for Williams in his best performance in the class. Blyton faded to finish sixth, followed by Nathan Dicker, Joel Rhind, Troy Carey who once again came from the B-Main to record a great feature race finish, and Kyle Angel was 10th. Peter Granger was 11th followed by Kyle Mock, Jason Davis, Harley Smee, Jamison Blyton, Ashleigh Jack, Jarrad Rust, Sean Mayo, Jamie Dicker, John Webb, Mitchell and Leighton O’Brien and Mikaela Blyton was the final finisher. The only non-finisher of the event was Brian Briton. Earlier heat races were taken out by Jamie Dicker, Mikaela Blyton, Mock, Rhind, Sayre, Jamison Blyton, Bates and Dean Thomas. Rhind also set a new 10-lap track record with his heat race win. The two B-Mains were won by Nathan Dicker and Brian Briton. The NSW Wingless Sprints have a week off before their next event which will be at Valvoline Raceway on March 24.