Craig Lowndes has taken to social media to respond to backlash from fans following Sunday's controversial Supercars finale in Newcastle.
While not a factor in the title equation heading into Sunday's finale in Newcastle, Lowndes found himself in the thick of the battle for the 2017 crown in the dying laps of the race.
Having stopped for new tyres during the final Safety Car period, Lowndes' charge through the field found him pinned to the back of Scott McLauglin's Penske Ford with a handful of laps to go.
As it shook out, Lowndes needed to pass McLaughlin to help teammate Jamie Whincup secure the title. But while trying to slip up the inside of the Penske driver on the run to Turn 2 on the final lap, the pair made contact which resulted in Lowndes hitting the wall and retiring from the race.
McLaughlin was adjudged to have not left Lowndes sufficient room, and was slapped with a post-race drive-through that cost him the championship despite crossing the line level on points with Whincup.
The controversial moment inspired a flurry of social media commentary aimed at all three drivers directly involved as well as the race stewards, who penalised McLaughlin a total of three times during that final race.
Lowndes, longtime a fan favourite in Aussie Touring Car racing, has since taken to social media to respond to the backlash, his post including a photo of him and friend McLaughlin taken at last night's end-of-season Gala in Sydney.
"There’s been a lot of negativity out there in the last 48 hours," Lowndes wrote.
"Our fans are passionate and that’s what makes our sport great. I’m all for people having a say but when it becomes personal, it’s not ok.
"[Scott McLaughlin] and I are friends and have respect each other on and off the track.
"If we weren’t both having a go, it wouldn’t be racing."
Reynolds wins Sheene award
David Reynolds was the big winner of the Supercars Gala Awards, taking out the prized Barry Sheene Medal.
Names after the late bike racing great and former Supercars commentator, the medal is awarded to the series' best and fairest at the end of each season.
This year, it was colourful Bathurst winner Reynolds' turn.
“I’m truly, truly honoured, I can’t thank everyone who voted for me enough,” said Reynolds.
“I never thought I’d win this being myself, the way I am and the way I talk. I’d like to think this award is about being yourself and being an individual.”
Former open-wheeler star Will Brown won the Mike Kable Young Gun award, while former racer now renowned commentator Neil Crompton was inducted into the Hall of Fame.