Whincup aims for title, Skaife hangs up helmet

WHINCUP HAS ONE HAND ON THE TROPHY WHILE MARK SKAIFE HANGS UP HIS HELMET Team Vodafone's driver Jamie Whincup has one hand on the trophy as he heads into the final round of the V8 Supercar Championship at Oran Park this weekend with a 223...


WHINCUP HAS ONE HAND ON THE TROPHY WHILE MARK SKAIFE HANGS UP HIS HELMET

Team Vodafone's driver Jamie Whincup has one hand on the trophy as he heads into the final round of the V8 Supercar Championship at Oran Park this weekend with a 223 point lead over Ford rival Mark Winterbottom.

Knowing that only 300 points are on offer for the last 3 races of the season, Whincup only requires 67 points to take his first title which will be in front of a packed crowd at the NRMA Motoring and Services Grand Finale. Whincup is not getting whipped up at this stage, as he knows anything can happen between now and Sunday afternoon. His philosophy, "I will go out like it's just another race". If Whincup wins he will be the first Ford driver to clinch the championship and the Bathurst 1000 since 1989.

This weekend also sees Holden's second favourite son, Mark Skaife wrap up his career that has spanned 22 years, five Championships and the most round wins for a V8 Supercar driver. In the past week Skaife has been embroiled in the transfer of his Holden Racing Team after it was alleged that he owed $3.6M to Walkinshaw Racing, the supplier of engines and consultancy to both HRT and Holden Special Vehicle Racing.

Ironically, Skaife took over HRT from Tom Walkinshaw back in 1996. The V8 Supercars Australia (VESA) board is yet to approve the deal, as it is reminded that Walkinshaw's Formula One Arrows team went broke back in 2002. After a hectic week, Skaife can now sit back and relax and give it his all during his final fling at a track where he holds 6 consecutive wins during his best years in the late 90's and the early 2000's. Holden race fans are expected to turn out in their droves this weekend to farewell the champ, and no doubt a few Ford fans will do the same. Skaife said that he was looking forward his family and friends seeing him finish his career, as Oran Park has been one of his most successful tracks.

The talk is that Skaife will be an ambassador for Holden, similar to that performed by Peter Brock after his retirement. Skaife is also tipped to drive in the endurance races, but whether that is with HRT or another Holden outfit is yet to be discussed.

Also retiring will be the Oran Park track, and this will be the last time the V8 Supercars run around here, as 2010 sees the circuit re-developed into a housing estate to cater for the ever growing western area of Sydney.

Oran Park Raceway has been Sydney's favourite motor racing venue since 1962 and is the home to three motor racing circuits, two dirt circuits and two four wheel drive training venues. The circuit is steeped in tradition and holds pride of place in Australian motorsport as the longest continuous host of a round of the Australian Touring Car championship (currently V8 Supercars).

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Series V8SUPERCARS