Newly crowned V8 Supercar Champion James Courtney didn't hold back his tears as he celebrated an emotional end to the 2010 season, which has been plagued with ownership troubles within the Dick Johnson (Jim Beam) Racing camp and Courtney's alleged defection to the Toll Holden Racing Team in 2011.
Although that myth may have been dispelled after Courtney suggested that the # 1 "would be staying on the car". His pit crew wasted no time in removing the number 8 from the windscreen of his battered # 18 Ford.
After the ritual burn-out along pit straight Courtney jumped from his Falcon and could not hold his emotions as he celebrated with his team who had been up until 3:30am that morning repairing it after the damage it was dealt in yesterday's race. The crew ensured that their driver wasn't going to miss his crack at the title, regardless of his only rival Jamie Whinchup being 113 points in arrears. Courtney only had to finish 24th or better to secure the trophy, but 72 laps around the concrete and steel streets of Homebush couldn't guarantee him that.
Later Courtney admitted that he found it hard to concentrate knowing that the title was in his grasp and that he effectively needed to finish. He said, "I was just cruising around it wasn't like I was concentrating and that's what you need around this street circuit. I was just keeping out of the way and circulating trying to avoid any incidents".
In the end he finished 14th, with Lee Holdsworth in the Fujitsu backed Holden crossing the line first ahead of Steven Richards in the Dunlop Dealers Ford and Shane Van Gisbergen piloting the SP Tools entry. The Kiwi was leading the race in the final stages only to drop off the pace to conserve fuel, eventually taking the chequered flag and parking halfway down pit straight.
Holdsworth had topped qualifying earlier in the day and lead most of the 250 kilometre race until pit strategies and pace cars forced him back into the pack. Regardless, he was proud and humble after receiving the winners trophy. Like Courtney, Richards was emotional considering it was his last race with Ford's number one team and at this stage there is no confirmation as to where he will be in 2011.
No doubt the Dick Johnson (Jim Beam) Racing Team will be up longer tomorrow morning and it's guaranteed that they won't be fixing any cars - they will be celebrating with Courtney. After all it's been some years since the team has had cause to party.