Supercars Newcastle: Penske's McLaughlin seals the title in finale

Scott McLaughlin sacrificed a potential win in Newcastle to David Reynolds, the Penske driver settling for a second place that makes him Supercars champion

Supercars Newcastle: Penske's McLaughlin seals the title in finale

The New Zealander was flawless on the final afternoon of the season, setting up what would have been a well-crafted win.

However, with title rival Shane van Gisbergen nowhere near quick enough to mount any sort of challenge, McLaughlin went with a cautious approach at the end of the race, letting the lingering Erebus Holden of Reynolds through with four laps to go to ensure he didn't get caught up in an unnecessary battle for the win.

Even with finishing second McLaughlin ended up 71 points clear of van Gisbergen, whose fourth place ensured the controversial Saturday penalty played no significant part in the final equation.

Polesitter Reynolds comfortably controlled the opening phase of the race, keeping McLaughlin at arm's length for the first couple of laps before establishing a 1.5s gap.

Van Gisbergen, meanwhile, needed a bit of Holden help to get onto McLaughlin's tail; having been out-dragged to the first corner by Garth Tander, the Red Bull Holden driver was given plenty of room when he showed his nose at Turn 8 later in the first lap.

The contenders ran in second and third until a lap 20 safety car - caused by another clash between Jamie Whincup and Fabian Coulthard, that left Coulthard in the wall - sparked the first round of stops.

McLaughlin was the winner of the dash into the pits, coming out in the lead ahead of Reynolds, Whincup and James Courtney, the latter two having made their first stops before the safety car. Van Gisbergen, however, dropped to fifth.

The middle stint proved damaging to van Gisbergen's race, falling 13s behind leader McLaughlin before diving into the pits for his second and final stop.

Van Gisbergen did jump Courtney as the stops shook out, but was still back in fourth behind Whincup and 18s off the lead of a race he needed to win.

Then, with around 20 laps to go, the front-left inside guard worked its way loose on van Gisbergen's car, the right guard following suit 10 laps later adding insult to injury on a tough afternoon.

McLaughlin, meanwhile, went conservative in the closing laps. While he could have fought it out for the win, he instead opted to let Reynolds - who was never more than a second or so behind - go with four laps remaining.

The pair ended up crossing the line separated by 4s, Reynolds the race winner and McLaughlin the 2018 Supercars champion.

"Everyone here works so hard," said McLaughlin.

"We have to pay respect to Shane, we raced so hard all year, it's been a hell of a battle.

"With 30 to go I thought 'this could be on' and it was the longest 30 laps of my life.

"Holy smokes, I just can't believe we've done it. Holy guacamole."

Whincup and van Gisbergen finished the race third and fourth respectively, the latter 42s down on Reynolds by the finish.

"We did everything we could. Congrats to them, they've been worthy competitors and worthy champions," said van Gisbergen.

"I've enjoyed the fight and am still proud, but it's a tough one. That race, I just got stuck behind James and couldn't do anything to get up there."

Courtney finished his season off with a fifth place, followed by Heimgartner, Chaz Mostert, Lee Holdsworth, and Scott Pye.

Craig Lowndes, whose afternoon started with a touching guard of honour from the entire pitlane, rounded out his full-time Supercars career in 11th place.

Race two result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 David Reynolds Erebus Holden 95 1h57m05.1150s
2 Scott McLaughlin DJR Penske Ford 95 4.6807s
3 Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Holden 95 17.1588s
4 Shane van Gisbergen Triple Eight Holden 95 42.8390s
5 James Courtney Walkinshaw Holden 95 44.3857s
6 Andre Heimgartner Nissan Motorsport Nissan 95 45.2094s
7 Chaz Mostert Tickford Ford 95 45.4244s
8 Garth Tander GRM Holden 95 46.7038s
9 Lee Holdsworth Team 18 Holden 95 47.1698s
10 Scott Pye Walkinshaw Holden 95 48.5032s
11 Craig Lowndes Triple Eight Holden 95 49.8931s
12 Nick Percat Brad Jones Holden 95 56.5347s
13 Mark Winterbottom Tickford Ford 95 1m08.2384s
14 Cameron Waters Tickford Ford 94 1 Lap
15 Tim Slade Brad Jones Holden 94 1 Lap
16 Anton De Pasquale Erebus Holden 94 1 Lap
17 Rick Kelly Nissan Motorsport Nissan 94 1 Lap
18 Jack Le Brocq Tekno Holden 94 1 Lap
19 Michael Caruso Nissan Motorsport Nissan 94 1 Lap
20 Will Davison 23Red Racing Ford 94 1 Lap
21 Todd Hazelwood Matt Stone Holden/Ford 94 1 Lap
22 Tim Blanchard Blanchard/BJR Holden 94 1 Lap
23 Richie Stanaway Tickford Ford 94 1 Lap
24 Simona de Silvestro Nissan Motorsport Nissan 94 1 Lap
25 James Golding GRM Holden 87 8 Laps
26 Fabian Coulthard DJR Penske Ford 75 20 Laps

Final drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Scott McLaughlin 3944
2 Shane van Gisbergen 3873
3 Jamie Whincup 3433
4 Craig Lowndes 3225
5 David Reynolds 3206
6 Chaz Mostert 2807
7 Scott Pye 2608
8 Rick Kelly 2515
9 Fabian Coulthard 2477
10 Nick Percat 2290
11 Tim Slade 2249
12 Mark Winterbottom 2192
13 Garth Tander 2139
14 James Courtney 2073
15 Will Davison 1927
16 Cameron Waters 1873
17 Andre Heimgartner 1775
18 Michael Caruso 1765
19 Jack Le Brocq 1673
20 Anton De Pasquale 1524
21 Lee Holdsworth 1443
22 James Golding 1418
23 Simona de Silvestro 1323
24 Tim Blanchard 1277
25 Richie Stanaway 1214
26 Todd Hazelwood 1201
27 Steven Richards 696
28 Alexandre Premat 609
29 Earl Bamber 576
30 James Moffat 546
31 Warren Luff 546
32 Paul Dumbrell 519
33 Macauley Jones 495
34 Luke Youlden 474
35 Chris Pither 456
36 Tony D'Alberto 432
37 Garry Jacobson 363
38 Dean Canto 342
39 Richard Muscat 315
40 Alex Davison 309
41 David Russell 294
42 Aaren Russell 288
43 Ashley Walsh 270
44 Jonathon Webb 255
45 Dale Wood 252
46 Jack Perkins 243
47 Bryce Fullwood 219
48 Jason Bright 216
49 William Brown 204
50 Alex Rullo 177
51 Steve Owen 168
52 Dean Fiore 96
53 Kurt Kostecki 90


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Series Supercars
Drivers Scott McLaughlin
Teams Team Penske
Author Andrew van Leeuwen
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