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Courtney takes Australian V8 Supercar Championship
12-05-2010, 09:24 AM
Post: #1
Courtney takes Australian V8 Supercar Championship
The final weekend of the series was held in the streets around the Olympic Staduim in Sydney. James Courtney of (frankdouglason's favourite) Dick Johnson Racing team was leading the current 2-time champion, Jamie Whincup of British-backed Triple 8's "Team Vodafone" in a GM-Holden Commodore. Mark "Frosty" Winterbottom was a mathematical chance in his ProDrive Ford Performance Racing Falcon if he was on the podium and the others were close to DNF's. The weekend was made up of two 250 km/155mi races, each being 74 laps around the 3.4km/2.1mi circuit of concrete barriers.

Qualifying on Saturday had Winterbottom in 2nd, Whincup 3rd and Courtney in P6. Their team mates were too far back in the 29-car field to be of real assistance. The race was generally uneventful until the heavens opened around lap 58. With all the pitstops completed and the 3 contenders in the first 3 positions, the traditional "do what the other guy does" strategy saw none of them pit for rain tyres. On Lap 60, the back section of the track was sufficiently wet enough for 3 leaders, and a fair few of the others, to aquaplane at a highspeed left curve. The 3 amigos made it back to the pits and the crews started the race of repairing the front right uprights and brakes of their car to be able to get back on track to be qualified.

Courtney emerged first from the pits, 7 laps down, with Whincup 2 minutes behind him. Frosty didn't make it out of the pits and that was the end of the title chance for him. Due to the clean-up, the race was time declared shortly after Whincup left the pit lane. Whincup was unable to complete a flying timed lap so he was classified as a DNF. Courtney, was last of the 15 finishers, but due to the points system working all the way to the end of the field, he was able to stretch his lead. He went into Sunday needing to finish 22nd or better if Whincup won, or if he DNF'd Whincup would need to be 4th or better to take the title. One of Courtney's team mates, Jonathon Webb, won the race for his maiden victory in his maiden full-time season.

Sunday qualifying was a single 20 minute session ending with Whincup 2nd, his teammate was 9th with Courtney back in the dangerous mid-pack position of 12th. Turn 1 is a tight 90degree left turn preceded by a long straight - the danger of being taken out by a late-braker or a banzai move is high. It didn't eventuate and the race clicked along at a steady rate in the 30C/85F heat and humidity. On Lap 23, Courtney pitted for 4 tyres and fuel. A drama with the right rear wheel saw it unable to be replaced - a drama due to the anticlockwise course of the track. A few laps later, a safety car gave him the chance to return to the pits and replace the tyre and add more fuel. While this seemed a good save, it meant he had to fight through the pack on a street circuit to get to 22nd or better. There were touches and tangles which may have caused terminal damage, but he continued unscathed.

At the back end of the race, Courtney's team-mate and son of Dick Johnson, was 4th and able to hold up Whincup in 5th to provide an insurance policy against the unpredictable DNF. In the end, dual-pole sitter Lee Holdsworth of Garry Rogers Motorsport won in his GM-Holden Commodore after being gifted the race when the leader coughed on the 4th last corner due to low fuel. Courtney cruised his Ford Falcon into 14th to take his first V8 Supercar title.

It was a great result for Dick Johnson Racing which has been in turmoil for the past few months due to a rift between Dick Johnson and the co-owner. The co-owner brought Courtney to the team and the owner is opting out, causing Courtney to look for a team next year. The result is a great one for the crew after all the upheaval. The win makes DJR the most successful team in local V8/Touring Cars, taking their tally to 7. Dick won 5 of the titles, and the last title was in 1995. Courtney grew up 20mi from the circuit in a very working class family. Johnson is self-made, so it was a fine day for the underdogs. Next year, Courtney will be with Tom Walkinshaw's GM-Holden Racing Team

This year, the format of the weekends being called "rounds" was replaced with each race having it's own podium presentation. The points awarded didn't change, so I'm unsure why they changed the format. It changed the way the records are written, because in the past it was based on "Round Wins." Apart from the non-points appearances at the Australian GP in March, this year there were 14 race weekends, with two races each weekend other than the two enduro weekends of the Bathurst 1000 and the Phillip Island 500. The 2011 season starts in Feb at Abu Dhabi followed by Bahrain. Going to the Middle East is paid for by the track promoters. I guess that's why the V8 circus goes there instead of somewhere like Laguna Seca. Monterey would be an exciting track, it would draw a crowd, and have a decent chance of getting Australians to travel there for the spectacle. Money talks.....

I've saved the best til last - the stupendous points. A race win earns 150 points. There were 26 races this year, 24 single-driver races and 2 double-driver enduros earning double points for each driver. Points are awarded to all finishers.


Sat crash: (for some reason the 16:9 video has been upload as 4:3)

The celebratory burnouts

And some old footage of Aussie Dick Johnson back in the day having a go at Le Nascar

Not bad for a No. 2 Driver
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12-05-2010, 01:44 PM
Post: #2
RE: Courtney takes Australian V8 Supercar Championship
Nascar-esque points system Tongue

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