Jamie Whincup took a second win on the streets of Sydney Olympic Park, while Mark Winterbottom finally sealed a maiden title with third place.
Winterbottom needed just 21st place to ensure he’d win his first title, but the Prodrive Racing Australia star did a lot better than that. Compared to this afternoon’s first race, he started the second 125-kilometre affair in a more aggressive manner, holding off James Courtney to keep third through Turn 1.
For the remainder of the 37 laps Winterbottom effectively held on to that third spot, surviving a straightforward round of pit-stops and a single Safety Car period to bring home not just a podium, but the 2015 V8 Supercars title.
“I had a few tears in my eyes on that in-lap,” said Winterbottom.
“I’m speechless, it’s awesome. I’m numb, I’ll take it all in tomorrow night I’m sure. I’m over the moon, we fought a long time for this.”
Out front, Whincup was essentially unchallenged on his way to victory. He led the field the entire race, never coming under any serious attack from David Reynolds or Winterbottom behind him.
“Fantastic day, the car had good pace,” said Whincup. “Today is about Mark, I don’t want to take any shine off him. Credit where credit is due, I will happily hand over the #1 tomorrow afternoon.”
In what was a mostly straightforward race, Courtney followed Winterbottom home for fourth place, while Scott McLaughlin fought back from a slow stop to finish fifth ahead of Shane van Gisbergen.
Craig Lowndes came into the race as the only driver still capable of beating Winterbottom to the title, but it just didn’t pan out for the veteran. Realistically, Lowndes needed a Winterbottom DNF to stay in the game. And despite making some forward progress, ultimately finishing seventh, it wasn’t quite enough.
Rick Kelly put in a solid drive to finish eighth on what is Jack Daniel’s last weekend in the sport as a sponsor, with Scott Pye and Lee Holdsworth rounding out the Top 10.