He couldn’t match his teammate’s pace and points haul in theAustin 400, but Craig Lowndes still did well enough out of the historic Texasrace to haul himself up to second in the V8 Supercars Championship pointschase.
Three consecutive second places followed by a fifth – offthe back of 12th place qualifying for the final race – were enough for the RedBull Racing Australia Holden Commodore VF driver to overtake Ford Performance Racing’sWill Davison.
He now assumes a familiar position, chasing teammate JamieWhincup in the points table. For now at least, that’s objective achieved.
“JJ (engineer Jeromy Moore) and I said one thing we want outof this weekend was being second in the Championship and that’s exactly what wegot,” Lowndes told V8Supercars.com.au.
“It’s a great position to be in, we gave up a few points toJamie but we didn’t have what we needed to fight really to be honest. Jamie dida fantastic job this weekend, no hiding from that, he came to grips with thetrack, he had a very good car, he had a speedy car. We managed to beat him inthe first race today but other than that he dominated.
“But for sure there will be swings and roundabouts. We justhave to make sure we are in there for the fight.
“I take a lot out of the weekend, it’s a brand new track,the car was good, we were speedy again, I qualified poorly for the second race (Sunday)and that was my mistake. We now go to Darwin and that’s a track I like.”
With Whincup winning three of the four races at the Circuitof the Americas, RBRA have now won six out of the last seven Championship races,but ominously for their rivals, Lowndes says the team still has more pace tofind in the new Car of the Future Commodore.
“I think we are definitely a lot more comfortable with thecar and where we are at with it. We are not on top of it … we worked prettyhard between New Zealand and here to try and get a better understanding of thecar, so to me it’s a pleasing turnaround. We were not sure about what toexpect, but we got here and it’s been fantastic.”
However, the three-time touring car/V8 Supercars Championinsists the trend for the season hasn’t necessarily been set: “I think thingswill change as the year goes on. We still have long distance and everythingstill to come.”
Surprisingly, this was Lowndes’ first trip to the USA, andunsurprisingly, he loved it, reserving special praise for the American fans.
“The people were just so welcoming and so polite. You couldtell the difference between the Aussies and Americans lined up in the autographsessions. They were just so supportive of the category and why we are here.
“I am really looking forward to coming back here. It’s beena real eye opener about how they operate.”
Lowndes now heads to the Whistler mountain biking mecca inCanada with about eight of the Triple Eight crew including Moore and team managerAdrian Burgess. Then it’s on to the Indianapolis 500 to cheer on former GoldCoast teammate Sebastien Bourdais.
“Whistler will be team bonding and a bit of fun, it probablybeats getting drunk in Vegas,” Lowndes joked. “Then on to Indy and I reckonthat will be the first time I have been to a race track in a long time to justbe a spectator and support someone else.”