Extraordinary scenes as Whincup claims 7th title

Jamie Whincup celebrates his 7th title with his crew
Jamie Whincup celebrates his 7th title with his crew

Jamie Whincup confirmed his standing as the greatest driver in Australian motorsport history in extraordinary circumstances at the season-ending Coates Hire Newcastle 500.

Whincup grabbed a seventh Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in heart-breaking scenes as young challenger Scott McLaughlin was effectively ruled out by three in-race penalties.

After two penalties during the race and with just two laps to go McLaughlin had fought and fought to get to the 11th place he needed to win the Championship.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]But in a dice with Craig Lowndes for that very position he got a third penalty – a post-race pit lane penalty – and Whincup won another title by just 21 points. The penalty dropped McLaughlin from the title winning position 11 to 18.

A devastated McLaughlin was consoled by his team, including team owner and American racing legend Roger Penske, after the race.

“Oh man, I just gave it my all, gave it my all for the boys," McLaughlin said.

“I lost my left-hand mirror early and obviously I knew we (he and Lowndes) were close but not that close. I defended my line to (turn) two and we interlocked. I genuinely didn’t mean to push him into the wall and to get pinged like that. Anyway mate, it’s whatever."

McLaughlin won more races than anyone this year with eight and took an incredible 16 ARMOR ALL Pole Positions. But still it was not enough.

Whincup speeds to victory
Whincup speeds to victory and the title

“I shouldn't have been there in the first place, yeah it’s hard," he said.

“I just feel sorry for the guys, we shouldn't’t be in the position. To all our fans who have stuck by us and our sponsors I am so sorry, I wish we could have done it for them. At least we have got the team’s Championship.

“I am 24 years old, I will have another crack yet."

Whincup has now won more titles than Dick Johnson, Mark Skaife and Ian Geoghegan. But he didn’t realize he had until after he had crossed the finish line.

“I didn’t have a clue across the line, I assumed I came second when the crew said I got number one. Massive event for everyone, I was so glad we were able to put on a good show," he said.

Like many who witnessed to closing laps Whincup felt for McLaughlin.

McLaughlin only needed to finish 11th for the title but he made three errors in what can only be described as one of the ultimate chokes in all of motorsports.
McLaughlin snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. He only needed to finish 11th for the title but he made three errors in what can only be described as one of the ultimate chokes in all of motorsports

“We fought hard, didn’t have the quickest car all year but it is all about team-work and sport is all mental," Whincup said. “A massive thanks to the car 17 crew, they stepped up this year and gave us an unbelievable fight. Commiserations to them.

“No doubt Scotty will go on to win the next eight but I am glad we got one."

Fellow Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen, Whincup’s team-mate who finished second today, agreed: “The unthinkable happened today and I feel for Scotty, it really sucks. Well done to Jamie, that’s why he has won the Championship so many times. He is so consistent, no mistakes. It’s pretty awesome."

The penalties that got McLaughlin into trouble initially were for speeding in pit lane early and then for an incident with Simona de Silvestro. The first took him from first to 23 and the second from 12 to 24. He fought back to 11th before the Lowndes clash.

Van Gisbergen ended up second ahead of David Reynolds and the Nissans of Rick Kelly and Michael Caruso, while retiring Todd Kelly added to his team’s joy with a solid 10th.

Results

Pos No. Driver Team Behind Points
1 88 Whincup Red Bull Holden Racing Australia +0.000s 150
2 97 Van Gisbergen Red Bull Holden Racing Australia +4.481 138
3 9 Reynolds Erebus Motorsport +5.717 129
4 15 R. Kelly Nissan Motorsport +6.682 120
5 23 Caruso Nissan Nismo +7.550 111
6 8 Percat Brad Jones Racing +8.847 102
7 5 Winterbottom Prodrive Racing +9.785 96
8 18 Holdsworth Preston Hire Racing +10.289 90
9 19 Davison TEKNO Woodstock Racing +10.626 84
10 7 T. Kelly Nissan Motorsport +12.216 78
11 14 Slade Brad Jones Racing +18.335 72
12 33 Tander Wilson Security Racing GRM +19.859 69
13 34 Moffat Wilson Security Racing GRM +23.269 66
14 02 S. Pye Mobil 1 HSV Racing +23.792 63
15 55 Mostert Supercheap Auto Racing +24.026 60
16 21 Blanchard CoolDrive Racing +26.800 57
17 78 S. De Silvestro Nissan Nismo +29.601 54
18 17 McLaughlin Shell V-Power Racing Team +42.624 51
19 3 A. Russell LD Motorsport +45.225 48
20 99 Wood Erebus Motorsport +1 Lap 45
21 62 T. Douglas LD Motorsport +1 Lap 42
22 56 Bright MEGA Racing +2 Laps 39
23 6 C. Waters Prodrive Racing +3 Laps 36
24 22 Courtney Mobil 1 HSV Racing +4 Laps 33
DNF 888 Lowndes Team Vortex +2 Laps 0
DNF 12 Coulthard Shell V-Power Racing Team +80 Laps 0

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