Now we are down to the business end of the field. I've said many times before - V8 Supercars is the most competitive in the world and these guys and their teams are doing outstanding jobs. Never before has any category been this close and competitive.
Michael Caruso, Norton Hornets, Nissan Altima Doing a great job really in a car that is still compromised - as I've already observed, the Nissan Altima is just a tiny bit short in a category that's measured in tiny bits. Fast and furious in true Italian style, I like the way he goes about his racing.
Jason Bright, Team BOC, Holden Commodore I'm a huge admirer of Brighty, he was a good friend of my buddy Jase Richards and still runs his number. Ok, call me biased, but I reckon on any given day Brighty can beat anyone. He's had a very up and down year and the luck factor hasn't quite been on his side. Very much part of the BJR rise to prominence and one of the most car/chassis sensitive drivers I've ever seen.
Chaz Mostert, Ford Pepsi Max Crew, Ford Falcon What an impact this young fella has made on the Championship, lots of talent and still maturing. He'll get better, faster and smarter - I bet that'll worry a few! His errors are becoming less and less and he's remained unaffected by his sudden success. Keep it coming mate and stay cool.
David Reynolds, The Bottle-O Racing, Ford Falcon Davey seems a bit more up and down this year than last. He has a great deal of natural ability and he's in the top 10 but I honestly expected him to be challenging Frosty more frequently than he has. I don't know if that's because FPR are running four cars or not? This may sound harsh but it's not supposed too, David Reynolds is capable of so much more!
Garth Tander, Holden Racing Team, Holden Commodore Just when folks, including me, were wondering what had happened to his pace, he smashes them! I have great respect for Garth, he's one of the greats in my book, although I didn't like racing against him much, haha! He's become such a part of HRT furniture, maybe a change of team would be good for him, not likely though, I guess.
Scott McLaughlin, Valvoline Racing GRM, Volvo S60 What a talent - fast, smart and a well balanced human. Garry Rogers has done it again, he sure can pick them and the Volvo isn't a bad tool to go racing in either. The next step for Scottie is a Championship, maybe next year! He's a credit to his team and his folks who've kept him grounded and supported him since his kart days. I'm expecting plenty from this fine young man!
Craig Lowndes, Red Bull Racing Australia, Holden Commodore So tough is this business Craig has gone from the front - a couple of bad weekends and Lowndsey has slipped down the order. He's an awesome driver, still at the top of his game I reckon. You can never underestimate him or Triple Eight for that matter. The other blokes can have bad weekend too! Think about that, it's not over yet by any means!
James Courtney, Holden Racing Team, Holden Commodore The new generation V8 Supercarhas suited James' style much more than the old cars of HRT did, and the restructure likewise. James is a potential winner every time out now. He's showing the speed that won him a Championship in 2010 at DJR. Don't forget, this bloke was on the brink of Formula One when a freak accident brought a halt to that. He's one of our top drivers.
Shane van Gisbergen, Team TEKNO VIP Petfoods, Holden Commodore I love the way this guy lives, freestyle and expressive. His personality is very subdued - but in a car he is anything but subdued. Other than Jamie he is probably the best passer in the business. I was a freestyle driver in my day and Craig Lowndes is famous for it.
Van Giz can win the Championship I reckon, he's gaining the maturity required. Credit must go to Jonno and Steve Webb for creating Tekno Autosports. Let's face it though, there are quite a lot of drivers in this country who should thank God they met Ross and Jimmy Stone. They are true star makers!
Fabian Coulthard, Lockwood Racing, Holden Commodore I would like to think I played a little part in Fabian's life when I recommended him to PCR after his earliest V8 Supercars year with PMM (Paul Morris Motorsport). He has become without doubt one of the best points gatherers of all time. I think the boys at BJR have helped and Phil Keed in particular has helped Fabs' maturity and car setup and understanding. He knows when to fight and he knows when to relent. That's important in today's Championship, he's a most impressive racer.
Jamie Whincup, Red Bull Racing Australia, Holden Commodore The Champion's Champion. Words do not do him justice and because he had been so successful, the Aussie tall poppy thing happens with Jamie, he's the real deal and I know my cattle. Just look at how he's fought his way back this season. He's a vital cog and I reckon he motivates Triple Eight to dig deeper. I'd like him to take on the world, not be content with being the King in Australia.
Mark Winterbottom, Ford Pepsi Max Crew, Ford Falcon I'm unashamedly a Frosty fan. He's a supreme driver, well balanced and a decent bloke. He's been Ford loyal and actually means it. I hope Ford Motor Company realises how much the heartland of the car buying public likes that stuff. He has it all to be a Champion and he's leading the Championshipagainst the odds! That won't change this year. He's raced against the odds all year with his Ford, sometimes that brings out the best out in people. This year it's lifted Frosty to a magnificent level of driving.
Without being biased, I try not to be, Mark Winterbottom deserves to win the Championship. My comments about Jamie taking on the world also apply to Mark. The world is their oyster!
Follow John Bowe on Facebook. Bowe is supported by Wilson Security, Dunlop Super Dealers and Coates Hire, and competing in the 2014 Touring Car Masters Championship.