A last-lap change of lead saw Fujitsu Racing's Lee Holdsworth take victory in race two of the Sydney Telstra 500 on the streets of Homebush, but further down the field 14th place was enough for James Courtney to claim the 2010 V8 Supercar title.
Holdsworth led until the second safety car period, when most but not all of the field made pitstops. As the race wound down and other drivers made stops, he moved back up towards the front, taking second place with 13 laps to go, and chased down leader Shane van Gisbergen.
Van Gisbergen was in fuel conservation mode, hoping to stretch it to the finish. With less than half a lap remaining, his engine coughed, allowing Holdsworth and Steven Richards past to take first and second place, Holdsworth's second career victory was deserved after pole position in the last three races at the Homebush track.
All but out of fuel, van Gisbergen struggled to the line, holding out Steven Johnson by 0.0198 seconds at the chequered flag, with Johnson having to swerve wildly to avoid him in the confined area near the chequered flag.
One place behind Johnson was 2008 and 2009 series champion Whincup, who was right behind Holdsworth at the second safety car but chose to stay out rather than pit. The decision cost him ground, but in the end it made little difference, as Courtney's finishing position meant even a win would not have won Whincup his third successive title.
Team-mate Craig Lowndes, Rick Kelly, Michael Caruso, Garth Tander and Jonathon Webb completed the top 10 runners, but it was the driver in 14th place, Courtney, who was the big winner apart from Holdsworth.
It wasn't a pretty race for Courtney - a crumpled bonnet proving testament to that, and he had also fallen back to 26th when a wheel nut stuck at his first pitstop and he went back out with the same right rear tyre on he had come in with.
But a safety car soon after allowed him to pit and replace the tyre, and also allowed him more flexibility strategy-wise than most of the rest of the field. From there, all Courtney needed to do was stay on the lead lap as other cars fell out of the race and though it wasn't one of his his best races, it was (more than) enough to ensure he won the title, 65 points ahead of Whincup.
After heading into the weekend with a chance of winning the title, fellow Ford driver Mark Winterbottom was just behind his team-mate Steven Richards when his engine let go, giving him his second DNF in two days.
Pos Driver Make Time
1. Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VE2 2h03m58.6442s
2. Steven Richards Ford Falcon FG + 1.5358s
3. Shane Van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG + 8.4239s
4. Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG + 8.4437s
5. Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VE2 + 10.2476s
6. Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VE2 + 13.4918s
7. Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE2 + 16.0408s
8. Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE2 + 16.2850s
9. Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE2 + 19.8472s
10. Jonathon Webb Ford Falcon FG + 22.8910s
11. Tony D'Alberto Holden Commodore VE2 + 23.8604s
12. Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE2 + 24.8702s
13. Andrew Jones Holden Commodore VE2 + 27.5751s
14. James Courtney Ford Falcon FG + 29.7892s
15. Paul Dumbrell Ford Falcon FG + 30.6741s
16. Dean Fiore Ford Falcon FG + 34.5637s
17. Tony Ricciardello Holden Commodore VE2 + 40.5472s
18. Warren Luff Holden Commodore VE2 + 45.8667s
19. Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore VE + 56.0602s
20. Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE2 + 1m20.1665s
21. Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE2 + 2 laps
22. Jason Bargwanna Holden Commodore VE2 + 4 laps
23. Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG + 15 laps
Driver Make Laps
Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG 65
Tim Slade Ford Falcon FG 58
Jason Bright Holden Commodore VE2 54
Will Davison Holden Commodore VE2 47
Karl Reindler Holden Commodore VE 44
Andrew Thompson Holden Commodore VE2 37