Winterbottom seems unchallenged at the moment in a very slick Prodrive Racing Australia Falcon with a start-to-finish victory in an unusually tame Townsville 200km street race.
Whincup improved on his recent form but Winterbottom was streets ahead of the field in a Prodrive 1-2 with the equally in-form, last-start winner David Reynolds.
Reynolds was tantalizingly close in a grandstand finish on the final lap as the race came down to a thriller with Freightliner Racing creeping up behind in third.
With Craig Lowndes battling a wrist injury he fought his way through the grueling long distance street race but could only manage fourteenth, further stretching Winterbottom’s overall lead to a sizeable 176 points.
This time last year Winterbottom was also a runaway leader but went down by more than 400 points to a rampant Whincup whose second-half season fightback was to behold.
“Everyone’s a threat, that top 7 or 8 is really good," he said.
“Last year I think we had a 200 point lead at this point and we lost by 400 points so we had a 600 point turnaround in six months.
“Bathurst, Sandown, those big races where you can lose some points. That top eight are still very close, you just need a string of form.
“The back half of the year gets busy so if you’re in form it just seems to tick over, if you’re out of form it just seems to escalate how bad it gets so the back half we’ll see who’s where."
With his team-mate pushing him from behind Winterbottom held on desperately in the end, glad that it was not Coulthard or anyone else in that position.
“It’s always nicer racing your team mate than someone else but at the same time you don’t want him not to have a go to win the race," Winterbottom said.
“It’s good that in our team they let you race, within reason, and you know if he had have got it done I would have sat second and congratulated him."
With Lowndes’ result Coulthard moves into second on the Championship ladder after another canny strategy race from Brad Jones Racing which pushed him from eighth into a fast finishing third.
Coulthard was arguably the best performer in the last event in Darwin but got taken out twice across the weekend when he appeared to have the fastest car on the track.
ARMOR ALL Pole Position sitter Chaz Mostert at one stage looked like he would be part of an historic 1-2-3 but faded in the closing stages as his soft tires fell away.
It was a great return to form for Wilson Security GRMs Scott McLaughlin – who has had a hard run in his Volvo this season – and Scott Pye with DJR Team Penske, finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander climbed from 14th to seventh, finishing right behind his teammate James Courtney.
Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen completed the top 10, van Gisbergen coming from last on the grid to 10th in a strong run.
The V8 Supercars hit the track tomorrow for qualifying, the ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout and another 200km dash around the streets of Townsville.