Whincup's winning ways
- By V8 Supercars
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
He might be out of contention for this year's championship but Jamie Whincup showed he is still a force to be reckoned with after another commanding win at the ITM 500 Auckland.
The six-time champ crossed the line four seconds ahead of teammate Craig Lowndes in the 69-lap race, after grabbing the lead off the start and clinching the prestigious Jason Richards Memorial Trophy.
Whincup becomes the third man to win the prestigious award, named after the late Kiwi driver who succumbed to cancer in 2011.
The two were teammates and finished on the podium at Bathurst in 2005.
The win is Whincup's 94th career win.
"One-two - we're back!" he said over the radio as he crossed the line.
"I'd be lying if I said there wasn't bit of emotion there on the last few laps," he said getting out of the car.
"I was a teammate of JR's and I haven't really won anything this year, so nice to come out of 2015 with one of the biggest trophies this year - that's the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy."
Lowndes' finish is an incredible achievement, with the Red Bull team repairing the car overnight after substantial damage in yesterday's second race.
Lowndes' left rear tyre exploded approaching turn one yesterday and led to a rule change for today's race, forcing teams to start on the Dunlop soft tyre, which could not be reused once taken off the car.
"I think it's the team you need to congratulate, they did an all-nighter and it's rare to get a car that's stripped apart then runs faultlessly."
Everyone peeled into pit lane after a lap eight Safety Car for Nick Percat who was stranded with a suspected flat left rear tyre.
David Reynolds and Scott McLaughlin were in the battle early, but as the race unfolded it was Scott Pye - who qualified third - best positioned to take his first ever podium finish under the watchful eye of motorsport icon Roger Penske.
"Felt like it was just never going to come!" Pye said.
"Third today ... I can't stop smiling.
"I think he [Penske] is happy, it's a big turnaround in eight months... I'm enjoying driving this race car and excited about the future."
Drama hit Championship leader Mark Winterbottom, who spun on lap two and rejoined at the back of the field. The incident is to be reviewed post-race.
Winterbottom carved through the field and managed to come home 11th.
He continues to lead the Championship, now by 239 to Reynolds, but his closest competitors in Lowndes and Reynolds finished ahead of him today.
Stand-in teammate Cameron Waters also had a tough run, inside the top 10 for a time but ultimately being dealt a pit lane drive through penalty after contact with James Courtney.