When I look over the names in this group I see former Champions and a few upcoming potential Champions. That really defines our series, I reckon. You don't forget how to drive, many of them know how to win a Championship and yet they've finished back here!
I think that's a stark reminder of just how tough our V8 Supercars category has become. We've had a stream of well-credentialed overseas drivers arrive over the years, returning home asking themselves the question - what just happened? See how your driver has fared on my report card!
15. David Reynolds, The Bottle-O Racing
A bit of a disappointing result from Davey this year. He obvious has plenty of natural talent and ability, and the speed to run near the top. He needs to get a bit more point-scoring consistency, that's what wins Championships. He at least needs to up with the other FPR boys.
14. Will Davison, Erebus Motorsport
Who would have thought Will Davison would finish 14th in our Championship.
All I can say, I hope the engine and cars take an upward swing next year to allow Will achieve the Championship he is capable of winning.
The Erebus cars were very hot and cold in terms of performance/results this year. Occasionally they were hot, too often they were cold. Here is a very good example of how tough this business is.
13. Rick Kelly, Jack Daniel's Racing
I really rate Rick but again I think that being very intrinsic to the continuation of the team affects his race focus and performance to some degree - this is more apparent in such a competitive series. Not much but a little bit, when the field is so close (covered by a hankerchief) it only takes a little bit to impact on your performance and results.
12. Nick Percat, HHA Racing
He's had an outstanding first season in the very top grade. The fact that he was ousted from a drive at the death knock is a disgrace! He's a Champion in the making just like Scotty Pye, they're both potential Champions in the future. Nick probably needs to race in Carrera Cup next year and try and win it. In the meantime, I hope that a team worthy of his talent gives him a crack. I reckon HRT is duty bound to give him an opportunity in the future!
11. Jason Bright, Team BOC
Brighty is an awesome driver, far better than this result showed this year. I'm not sure why, at times he's on the pace, other times he's languishing mid or rear of field. The guys around him are outstanding at BJR, maybe they all need to go to Bali for a holiday and do a bit of brain storming. He has the ability/talent to win a title.
10. Michael Caruso, Norton Hornets
A great result for little Mikey, he rose above the Nissan pack - it shows how open wheel drivers can go when they accumulate some V8 Supercar mileage/experience. I was really impressed with him at times this year, Nissan are nearly there. When they finally arrive - look out!
9. Garth Tander, Holden Racing Team
He's always been a force to be reckoned with and he's one of the best in my view. He's tough as teak, controlled aggression, smart and very experienced. I've said before and I truly believe it, no one will win a Championship in a four car team - it's way too tough. End of story!
8. Fabian Coulthard, Lockwood Racing
I'm sure Fabian would be disappointed with his final finishing position after figuring much further up the order earlier in the year. Maybe he should go brain storming in Bali too [Jamie Whincup went there mid-year and gained the Championship lead on his return]! He's a great racer and a good points gatherer. BJR runs three cars, it's not as difficult as four but still more difficult than two. The BJR Freightliner sponsorship is great news for their team, they are fantastic trucks!
7. Chaz Mostert, Ford Pepsi Max Crew
He's a great freestyler in the same mould as Lowndes and Van Giz. Clearly he's a Championship contender, in the next few years I reckon. It will depend on his team and the new FG X, which I expect will take an upward step in terms of stability and provide more driver confidence. Chaz has a big future and is a really nice/likeable young bloke. That's a big help in this tough business.
6. James Courtney, Holden Racing Team
When you finish on top of your three team-mates you have done an excellent job. Like Garth, James is a Champion and should be further up the ladder. Sure he had some bad luck but so did Jamie. If Walkinshaw can polish its act a bit more he can challenge for another Championship.
Obviously, Adrian Burgess's arrival has had a big impact at HRT. It's the last little bit that wins Championships. Dependant, of course on the number of cars run next year.