Webb wins Mother of a race
Rookie Jonathon Webb kept a cool head to win the first of two races during the final round of the V8 Supercar Championship. Piloting the Mother Energy Drink Ford Falcon prepared by Dick Johnson Racing Webb out-smarted his more experienced rivals when it most counted.
With a dozen or so laps left of the 250 kilometre race around Sydney Olympic Park he raced to the chaotic weather conditions to take the chequered flag and his first race win since joining the "main game" this year. Ironically, Webb damaged his car in qualifying earlier in the day and his team worked overtime to get him onto the grid for the second last race of the season.
Trailing behind him in second was Jason Bright in the Trading Post Holden followed by Jack Daniel's racer Rick Kelly, who made it on the podium for the first time since 2008.
Championship series leader James Courtney, Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom, the only three drivers in contention for this year's prize almost blew their chances after all heavily colliding with the concrete wall which brought out one of the many safety car periods during the 74 lap event. Whincup said, "We were the clowns at the front".
In reality, all three were fortunate that they managed to make it back to the pits for some much needed repairs and re-joined the race with a couple of laps left to earn those much needed points. Winterbottom who was the first of the top three to taste the concrete quipped that "I couldn't understand why they (Whincup and Courtney) followed me into the wall".
Courtney described how he thought that he had blown his title chance and switched off the engine to clear his head before limping back to the garage where his Jim Beam crew worked frantically on the front and rear of the Ford and got him back out ahead of Whincup enabling him to finish 15th on 62 laps. Winterbottom's Ford Performance Racing crew couldn't get him back out on the circuit which ended any glimmer of hope for a shot at the crown.
Despite Whincup finishing behind Courtney he recorded a DNF which will be subject of a protest by Team Vodafone when they meet with V8 Supercar officials this morning. At this time Whincup trails Courtney by 113 points, however, if the appeal is successful he will be 60 in arrears. With 150 points on offer to the winner of the final race of the season Whincup may still be in contention.
With the issues that have been impacting on the Dick Johnson (Jim Beam) Racing team over the past couple of weeks owner Dick Johnson may have more to smile about this Christmas after Webb's win yesterday and his number one driver in Courtney clinching the series this afternoon.
Probable protest update Team Vodafone have decided not to lodge a protest over Whincup receiving a DNF due to timing issue. This confirms that Whincup will be 113 points behind (instead of 60 if appeal was successful) Courtney going into the final race this afternoon. Team Vodafone boss Roland Dane was critical of officials for allowing Courtney to return to the track citing his team had complied with the rules and regulations to get Whincup out on the circuit and Dick Johnson (Jim Beam) Racing had not, in his opinion.