Five storylines to watch at the Darwin Triple Crown

13 Jun
Ahead of a big weekend up north, we look at some of the talking points heading to Darwin
5 mins by James Pavey

Darwin usually produces drama when Supercars comes to town. Look no further than the last four visits to Darwin, with the incoming championship leader hitting trouble each time.

Will Brown and Cam Waters were the talk of the town last week thanks to their NASCAR Cup Series debuts, but their Supercars rivals would love nothing more than to bring them crashing back to earth in Darwin.

Broc Feeney is determined to get his championship back on track, while Chaz Mostert is going from strength to strength. Brown may by 136 points up the road, but nothing is certain in Supercars.

Ahead of the annual Indigenous Round, Supercars.com picks out five key storylines to keep an eye on at the betr Darwin Triple Crown. Track action commences on Friday. International viewers can follow all the action on Superview.

Beating the jet lag, and beating the rest?

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Will Brown and Cam Waters will arrive in Darwin off the back of a big week in the United States, making their NASCAR Cup Series debuts. While the races didn’t go their way, Brown and Waters stayed sharp and raced in a hugely competitive series, against some hard-nosed racers. After a big week of travel, however, could jet lag rear its head? Craig Lowndes doesn’t think so, saying in his exclusive Supercars.com column: "Any time a driver can to get their backside in a race car and drive as much as they can is always a positive, because you keep your skills up by driving. It doesn’t matter what it is or where it is. Cam and Will are coming back from the States driving in NASCAR, so they’ll be pretty sharp… I don't think the jet lag will be a big issue for them. I think both of them are pretty wise to that side of it. I have no doubt they'll hit the ground running when they get to Darwin." You only need to look at recent efforts by Jaxon Evans, or Brodie Kostecki’s clean sweep at The Bend last year after his own NASCAR debut, as to how sharp Supercars drivers are as athletes, and how much work they put in to perform. Can Brown and Waters do the same?

Is it now or never for Broc?

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In two rounds, Broc Feeney’s deficit to Will Brown went from 17 points to 136 points. Feeney is still second in the championship, and with 2400 points still up for grabs, his title hopes are far from being put on life support. However, Chaz Mostert is only 39 points down, and after dominating Perth, the Walkinshaw Andretti United star is the one to watch. Feeney needs to repeat his 2023 heroics from Darwin — topping the round and winning races — to put the pressure back on Brown, and keep Mostert and the chasing pack at bay. Craig Lowndes agrees, writing in his column: “Broc needs to put a stamp on the authority of wanting to be right back in that championship hunt. And to do that, he needs to beat not only Will Brown, he needs to start winning races.”


Can Chaz keep it going?

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After returning to victory lane in Perth, Chaz Mostert and Walkinshaw Andretti United need to back it up in Darwin to keep their championship hopes alive. Mostert slashed the deficit to Will Brown from 196 points to 175 points — theoretically, if Mostert keeps taking 20 points off Brown per round, they’ll be neck-and-neck going into the Adelaide finale. So, all Mostert needs to do is stay in front on race weekends. Easier said than done, right? WAU couldn’t get their cars dialled in last year in Darwin, but Mostert won there in 2021 and 2022. So, they know how to get it done, and they also know how to fall in a heap. It’s critical WAU doesn’t suffer the latter.

Who will make the biggest post-test gain?

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Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Perth dominance was built off the back of a strong test day, with Chaz Mostert the pack leader. A number of teams went testing after the trip West, and will be looking to replicate what WAU achieved in Perth. Hidden Valley Raceway is a different beast, with a long straight and little tyre degradation to speak of. A strong test doesn’t always translate into results, but it can do a hell of a lot for confidence. The likes of Penrite Racing and the Shell V-Power Racing Team both left their test days happy, Matt Stone Racing and Team 18 worked hard to fix their qualifying issues, while PremiAir Nulon Racing could have something to work with after getting Will Brown in one of its cars. Could one of these teams throw a cat amongst the pigeons and snag a result?

Can another drought be broken?

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In Darwin last year, Mark Winterbottom claimed his first win in seven years and Team 18’s first, while Jack Le Brocq scored his first win in three years, and Matt Stone Racing’s first. Already this year, three winless droughts have been broken — Chaz Mostert snapped a two-year drought in Perth, Andre Heimgartner a three-year drought in New Zealand, and Nick Percat a four-year drought in Melbourne. See where we’re getting at here? When it comes to current droughts, look no further than 250-round starters Will Davison and James Courtney, who last won in 2022 and 2016 respectively. Then, there’s Thomas Randle, who has become a podium contender and is edging towards his first win. Or, could it be someone else?

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