Jamie Whincup has won his second Sandown 500, leading home the man he won his first with, Craig Lowndes.
At one point, the number 1 car driven by Whincup and Paul Dumbrell was not who you would have expected to have seen on the top step with a chaotic run in pit lane and a subsequent pit lane drive through penalty for spinning wheels, carried out on lap 70 of 161.
Dumbrell started the race and punched out strong lap times until the pair’s driver change. However, there was a kerfuffle in the pits, as the drivers had not been made aware of the switch until the last minute.
Whincup jumped in, served the penalty, and found himself back in 25th.
But he fought back and passed his teammate, who shared the Red Bull Racing Australia Commodore with Warren Luff, on lap 151 (of 161) for the lead – a strong announcement he is back in the groove and holding on to that Championship lead.
It wasn’t a clean day for many at the top of the Championship – Steven Richards in car 5 stalled on the line, losing a wealth of positions and putting the car on an alternate pit strategy. And when Steve Owen came in to pit later in the 6 Falcon – after a huge accident for Ash Walsh – he was forced to double stack in the lane, which Will Davison was furious about.
Nick Percat and Garth Tander’s hard luck started early, with Percat heading into pit lane early after bodywork had come loose – and then, after speeding in pit lane, a penalty was handed down to that car, burying them in the pack. Brake and battery issues followed and they came home 23rd.
An issue for Jason Bright in the last 30 laps basically ended his and Andrew Jones’ day – and an incident between Jones and Luff is due to be investigated post race. The Team BOC car finished 25th, a blow to Bright's Championship standings, and teammate Fabian Coulthard, driving with Luke Youlden, has tumbled from the top five in the points after finishing seventh.
The Erebus Motorsport V8 Mercedes-Benzes had a strong showing, with all three of the cars featuring in the top 10 during the race and Lee Holdsworth/Craig Baird coming in fourth, which Holdsworth said felt like a win.
The top 10 was rounded out by James Courtney/Greg Murphy in fifth – Courtney now rises to fifth in the Championship, Winterbottom/Richards, Coulthard/Youlden, McLaughlin/Perkins, Russell Ingall/Ryan Briscoe and Alex Premat/Greg Ritter.
Todd Kelly/David Russell followed, the first Nissan home in 11th.
Whincup has extended his Championship lead, up to 2147, Lowndes follows with 2051, Davison with 2050, just one point behind; Winterbottom with 1981, and James Courtney with 1909, 238 points down.
Whincup and Dumbrell will also lead the standings for the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.