Bright upstages title contenders in Sydney practice

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Bright upstages title contenders in Sydney practice

Jason Bright in the Trading Post Racing Holden upstaged series leader James Courtney and title contender and 2009 champion Jamie Whincup in the Friday practice sessions at the Sydney Telstra 500 at the former 2000 Sydney Olympic ...

Jason Bright in the Trading Post Racing Holden upstaged series leader James Courtney and title contender and 2009 champion Jamie Whincup in the Friday practice sessions at the Sydney Telstra 500 at the former 2000 Sydney Olympic venue.

Jason Bright.
Photo by John Maricic.

Bright lead both the afternoon sessions with Ford hopeful and long shot Mark Winterbottom in the Orrcon Steel Falcon posting the third fastest time with Courtney back in fifth spot and Whincup managing to grab seventh.

Courtney is tipped to take the championship title in his Jim Beam Falcon despite only having a 53 point advantage over Whincup. With both the two 250 kilometre races over the weekend providing 300 points for the winner there is the possibility that Winterbottom is in with a slim chance regardless of being 203 points behind Courtney.

Courtney has been under pressure to take the championship since leading the series from round six. The infighting at Dick Johnson (Jim Beam) Racing and claims by Courtney that he has been driving a second rate car only add to those pressures. Having said that, there is the suggestion that Courtney will defect to the Toll Holden Racing Team in 2011. Some say that he has signed already, however, team owner Dick Johnson has emphasised that Courtney is contracted for another year.

Although bookies and punters alike are working on the different formulas as to who will hold the trophy on Sunday afternoon, there is a long way to go yet. Firstly, tomorrow's qualifying and Top Ten Shoot Out, and then the first of the two races. Throw in the expected showers forecasted and it's anyone's guess, particularly on the tight street circuit that is Homebush. Bundaberg Red Racing pilot Fabian Coulthard can attest to that after slapping the concrete in one of the earlier sessions today. The team will be working overtime tonight to get him back on track tomorrow.

Talking of changes before season end, Will Davison heads to Ford Performance Racing in 2011 after some poor results this year at Toll HRT, considering he was runner up to Whincup in last year's championship and took both the Phillip Island and Bathurst enduros with Garth Tander. Whether Courtney takes his seat is yet to be seen.

Kiwi Greg Murphy has been shown the door at Paul Morris Racing after one season and he says that his future is unclear at this stage. Speculation exists that Steve Owen, who is currently leading the second tier Fujitsu Championship Series will get the nod. After all, he has proved he can drive and that was highlighted with his performances whilst partnering Whincup and Team Vodafone this year.

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