A loophole in race regulations allowing teams to use remaining soft tyres from Saturday's race had the pit-lane buzzing about unpredictable racing and surprise winners. But in the end it made no difference as TeamVodafone’s Jamie Whincup stormed to victory in the second race of the Sucrogen Townsville 400, ahead of team-mate and nearest championship rival Craig Lowndes.
Starting from eighth after a poor qualifying session, Whincup gained three positions in the opening stint, before emerging in second place after the first round of pit-stops.
He was then caught up in the pit-lane melee, as the race's one and only safety car intervention on lap 47 caused mayhem. With drivers slowing out on circuit to avoid queuing behind their team-mates and a congested pit-lane making exit and entry difficult, Whincup was forced to wait behind Lowndes to make his stop.
Resuming the race in fourth, he tore through the field passing Saturday’s race winner Toll Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander, then Orrcon Steel Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom and up behind Lowndes in the closing stages. Lowndes, who had started from pole and led for much of the race wasn’t able to hold off the two-time champion and he relinquished the lead on lap 56. Whincup pulled clear, finishing with a 4.3s margin.
“You never give up until the last minute. The car was fantastic on hard tyres and all we could do was fight back at the end,” said Whincup.
“I really wanted this oneâ€¦ we've had a couple of wins on Saturday here, but I've never been able to win on Sunday so this is great.”
Winterbottom rounded out the podium after fighting inside the top-five all race, leading home a trio of Fords with Irwin Racing's Alex Davison fourth and SP Tools Racing's Shane van Gisbergen fifth.
Fujitsu Racing GRM driver Lee Holdsworth finished sixth, with Lucky Seven Racing's Tim Slade in seventh, a great recovery after contact with Team BOC's Jason Bright after the restart. Bundaberg Racing's Fabian Coulthard, Supercheap Auto Racing's Russell Ingall and The Bottle-O Racing team's Paul Dumbrell rounded out the top ten.
Garth Tander's chances of a weekend double were dealt a huge blow when his rear suspension failed, resulting in a lengthy spell in the garage. He eventually limped over the line 26th. Team-mate and defending champion James Courtney, having started from 12th had been running as high as fourth, but a drive-through penalty for spinning around Tim Slade on lap 48 while battling for fourth, ended his surge and resulted in a 19th place finish.
The series now takes an extended break until the next championship event, the Ipswich 300 at Queensland Raceway from August 19-21.
Race 15 results:
|Pos||Entrant||Driver||Vehicle||Fastest Lap||Fastest Lap Time||Race Time||Laps||
|1||TeamVodafone||Jamie Whincup||Commodore VE2||69||01:13:7725||01:32:45:8802||72||150|
|2||TeamVodafone||Craig Lowndes||Commodore VE2||4||01:13:8137||01:32:50:2740||72||138|
|3||Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon||Mark Winterbottom||Falcon FG||23||01:14:2351||01:32:57:1208||72||129|
|4||Irwin Racing||Alex Davison||Falcon FG||31||01:14:0547||01:32:59:8227||72||120|
|5||SP Tools Racing||Shane van Gisbergen||Falcon FG||63||01:13:8966||01:33:05:8033||72||111|
|6||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Lee Holdsworth||Commodore VE2||53||01:13:9761||01:33:06:3241||72||102|
|7||Lucky 7 Racing||Tim Slade||Falcon FG||40||01:13:5400||01:33:13:1971||72||96|
|8||Bundaberg Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Commodore VE2||54||01:14:3542||01:33:15:3146||72||90|
|9||Supercheap Auto Racing||Russell Ingall||Commodore VE2||50||01:14:4685||01:33:16:0311||72||84|
|10||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Paul Dumbrell||Falcon FG||28||01:13:8207||01:33:18:1816||72||78|
|11||Jana Living Racing||Jason Bargwanna||Commodore VE2||33||01:13:8625||01:33:18:6566||72||72|
|12||Jim Beam Racing||Steven Johnson||Falcon FG||21||01:14:5564||01:33:21:5118||72||69|
|13||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Commodore VE2||22||01:14:2705||01:33:21:5306||72||66|
|14||VIP Petfoods||Steve Owen||Commodore VE2||61||01:14:4908||01:33:21:8525||72||63|
|15||Jim Beam Racing||James Moffat||Falcon FG||63||01:14:5588||01:33:22:4302||72||60|
|16||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Michael Caruso||Commodore VE2||21||01:14:4226||01:33:28:2331||72||57|
|17||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Commodore VE2||50||01:14:6860||01:33:29:2212||72||54|
|18||Trading Post FPR Falcon||Will Davison||Falcon FG||24||01:14:0807||01:33:30:7542||72||51|
|19||Toll Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Commodore VE2||9||01:13:7979||01:33:34:7497||72||48|
|20||Pepsi Max Crew||Greg Murphy||Commodore VE2||6||01:14:2014||01:33:38:6441||72||45|
|21||Gulf Western Oil Racing||Warren Luff||Commodore VE2||47||01:14:1616||01:33:41:4635||72||42|
|22||Team Boc||Jason Bright||Commodore VE2||66||01:13:9369||01:33:42:7440||72||39|
|23||Stratco Racing||David Reynolds||Commodore VE2||23||01:14:4248||01:33:55:1114||72||36|
|24||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||Karl Reindler||Commodore VE2||9||01:14:6657||01:32:48:4011||68||33|
|25||Wilson Security Racing||Tony D’Alberto||Falcon FG||51||01:14:3442||01:33:26:0879||67||30|
|26||Toll Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Commodore VE||51||01:13:6449||01:32:50:8365||62||27|
|DNF||R and T Pumps||Dean Fiore||Falcon FG||18||01:14:7533||01:15:40:8290||39||0|
|DNF||Mother Energy Racing Team||Jonathon Webb||Falcon FG||1||01:32:6236||01:32:6236||1||0|