Jamie Whincup was impressed by how Broc Feeney was able to hold his nerve and close out victory in Sunday’s Penrite Oil Sandown 500 after a late Safety Car.
Feeney and Whincup combined to win Sunday’s 500km race, having led virtually from start to finish.
However, the run to victory — the 250th for Triple Eight Race Engineering in Supercars — required a final effort from Feeney to hold off a charging Brodie Kostecki.
A late Safety Car, caused by the stricken Truck Assist Camaro of Cameron Hill, bunched the field together and erased Feeney’s lead, which had already been slashed by Erebus Motorsport star Kostecki.
Kostecki closed in and showed the nose at Turn 4, but Feeney held firm to show maturity beyond his 20 years to win by less than a second.
Feeney, at 20, became the youngest ever winner of the Sandown 500 — and team boss Whincup, who was replaced by Feeney last year, was in awe of his young star.
“The feeling of winning another Sandown 500 is incredible,” Whincup said.
"I’ve always said that is doesn’t matter if you cross the line or you’re a co-driver, it’s still the same feeling that’s for sure.
"I don’t think you should underestimate the job Broc did in the last stint. That was as tough as it gets with all three cars breathing down his neck and it was a true four-way battle.
"To keep your nerve at a huge event like the Sandown 500 is very difficult and he did a fantastic job.”
Feeney and Whincup will now head to Mount Panorama as strong favourites to win the Repco Bathurst 1000, as will Triple Eight.
Shane van Gisbergen and Richie Stanaway raced from 19th to third, van Gisbergen passing incoming Triple Eight driver Will Brown for third late on.
Triple Eight’s 250th Supercars win came on the weekend the team celebrated 20 years in the sport. Triple Eight debuted in Supercars in the 2003 Sandown 500, and has now won the event eight times, six for Whincup.
"I obviously can’t thank the team enough. We had fast cars this weekend, and that’s the biggest thing you can do because it makes the strategy a little bit easier,” he added.
"A big congratulations to the entire crew at Triple Eight Race Engineering who clocked up 250 race wins this weekend a few weeks after our 20th anniversary. What a day."
The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the Repco Bathurst 1000 on October 5-8.