Courtney wins season finale
|By David Wright||Sunday, December 6th 2009, 08:49 GMT|
Jim Beam Racing's James Courtney made up for his late disappointment in race one with victory in race two of the Telstra 500 at Homebush.
Courtney led virtually the whole race but did not have it easy in the first half of the race as other drivers challenged him. Ultimately all his main rivals fell by the wayside, and Courtney took the win a handful of seconds ahead of Garry Rogers Motorsport's Michael Caruso.
Third was Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom, a remarkable result after a spin on lap 20 dropped him from ninth to 18th. But four safety car periods during the race and dramas for several other drivers saw him climb back the order despite a brush with the wall late in the race which saw him lose a door skin.
Russell Ingall, Fabian Coulthard and Shane van Gisbergen finished fourth, fifth and sixth after starting 21st, 20th and 19th respectively, any cars still running well being good enough to get a position at the front of the field at the end of the race.
Greg Murphy finished seventh despite spinning at the restart on lap 33 and dropping from second position to 18th as well as damaging the rear section of the car. The two Davisons, Will and Alex were next in eighth and ninth, with Steven Johnson completing the top ten, the final car on the lead lap.
There were plenty of other drivers who looked set for good results before their day turned bad, as only 16 of the 29 cars that started the race were running at the finish, with a few of those 16 limping their way home.
After his troubles in qualifying, series champion Jamie Whincup torn through the field in the early running, and looked set for a possible top five finish.
But for the second day in a row he outbraked himself on cold tyres at Turn 1 after a pitstop. Unlike yesterday, he tried to make the corner and got stuck in the tyres, losing two laps and eventually finishing 14th, four laps down.
Todd Kelly was running fifth in the closing stages but a lack of electrical charge forced him to pit, retiring soon after. Jason Bright had an even bigger disappointment, passing Courtney for the lead just after half-distance before receiving a drivethrough penalty for an unsafe pit release, dropping from first to 13th.
His day got even worse a few laps later when he hit the wall near the end of the lap, retiring straight after. Just behind him was Craig Lowndes, who crashed at the same corner even harder, ending his day as well. A few laps earlier Lowndes had also received a drivethrough penalty for an unsafe release, which had dropped him from fourth to 15th.
Garth Tander's hopes of beating team-mate Will Davison for second in the championship disappeared when he and Michael Caruso made contact as Caruso passed him for fourth position, damaging his steering and leaving him unable to restart the car after it stalled. Until then Tander had looked on track to overhaul Davison as his rival struggled for the second day in a row.
Two other Holden drivers had their chances of a win disappear early on, Rick Kelly hitting the wall at Turn 8 while running second on lap ten, losing four places, before hitting it again three laps later, ending his race for good.
Garry Rogers Motorsport's Lee Holdsworth was on target to match or better his team-mate's result, pushing hard as the race headed towards one-third distance as he tried to leapfrog Courtney for the lead during the first round of pitstops.
But a mistake at the notorious Turn 8 saw him plough into the tyres, and his race as well as a chance of a win was gone.
Pos Driver Make Time 1. James Courtney Ford Falcon FG 2:08:16.0105 2. Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE + 3.9087 3. Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG + 10.6865 4. Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE + 13.2783 5. Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG + 14.9597 6. Shane Van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG + 20.7693 7. Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE + 25.9038 8. Will Davison Holden Commodore VE + 32.8472 9. Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG + 42.8316 10. Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG + 1:13.1200 11. David Reynolds Holden Commodore VE + 1 laps 12. Michael Patrizi Ford Falcon BF + 1 laps 13. Paul Dumbrell Holden Commodore VE + 2 laps 14. Jamie Whincup Ford Falcon FG + 4 laps 15. Steven Richards Ford Falcon FG + 7 laps 16. Tim Slade Holden Commodore VE + 10 laps Not classified/retirements: Driver Make Laps Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE 57 Tony D'Alberto Holden Commodore VE 56 Jason Bright Ford Falcon FG 55 Craig Lowndes Ford Falcon FG 55 Cameron McConville Holden Commodore VE 54 Mark McNally Holden Commodore VE 47 Jason Bargwanna Holden Commodore VE 38 Dean Fiore Holden Commodore VE 37 Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE 28 Jack Perkins Holden Commodore VE 26 Jason Richards Holden Commodore VE 24 Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VE 21 Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE 12