Championship leader Jamie Whincup continued Red Bull Racing’s winning streak by taking the opening two V8 Supercars races in the United States for the Austin 400.
Whincup, extending his Championship lead came ahead in front of his team mate Craig Lowndes. Fabian Coulthard came in third place in the day’s opening 27-lap race.
Even though he said he was in ‘holiday mode’, it is no doubt that the RBR Holden is quick, and that now both Lowndes and Whincup are comfortable that their car can lead continuously.
“Now we feel we have competitive cars we can have a crack, but like last year, like the year before, we won’t be cruising from here on in, we’ll keep our heads down and try to keep improving the cars. Finally now we’ve got a car that can challenge for wins.” Whincup said after the race.
Ford’s Will Davison came in fourth, but the real celebrations were held by Nissan who recorded their highest ever finish this season. Rick Kelly’s Altima finished in sixth place, higher than even the team expected.
Garth Tander was in fifth, in seventh place Jonathon Webb, then Mark Winterbottom, James Courtney and David Wall.
Will Davison had a tough run and Ford struggled on the American soil.
“It is a bit disappointing today as I really thought we would be strong than qualifying in the race given how well things went yesterday in Practice. The balance in the heat was poor and it was physically a very tough day with a cool suit and drink bottle failure so I cooked myself pretty badly in the first race and I am feeling pretty ordinary right now.” He said afterwards.
Jamie Whincup was second on the grid and passed Coulthard – who started poorly from pole – early on in the race. The battle between Whincup and Lowndes, Coulthard, Webb and Davison was fierce and kept the US crowds engrossed. After the first pitstop Lowndes right on his teammate’s tail but Whincup pulled away towards the end.
Lowndes car was investigated for spinning wheels during a pit stop but was cleared of any breach.
2013 V8 Supercars Austin 400 – Race 1 Final Classification (27 laps):
|Driver||Entry / Team||Result|
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||44:20.8482|
|2.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||+ 0.9030|
|3.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 8.6280|
|4.||Will Davison||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||+ 12.6896|
|5.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / TWR||+ 14.3523|
|6.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 15.5188|
|7.||Jonathon Webb||Tekno Autosports||+ 16.3815|
|8.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||+ 19.3333|
|9.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / TWR||+ 21.3329|
|10.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 25.9052|
|11.||David Reynolds||Bottle-O Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 26.9481|
|12.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||+ 33.6108|
|13.||Chaz Mostert||Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 34.2852|
|14.||Alex Davison||Jeld-Wen Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 39.8091|
|15.||Scott Pye||EKOL Racing / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 40.4631|
|16.||James Moffat||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 40.4929|
|17.||Alexandre Prémat||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 41.7636|
|18.||Tony D’Alberto||HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing||+ 42.5892|
|19.||Tim Blanchard||Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 43.0022|
|20.||Michael Caruso||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 43.0457|
|21.||Dean Fiore||Dodo Insurance / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 48.1767|
|22.||Tim Slade||Heavy Haulage Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 48.6056|
|23.||Maro Engel||SP Tools Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 50.1074|
|24.||Russell Ingall||SuperCheap Auto Racing / TWR||+ 1:00.0065|
|25.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 1:18.2760|
|26.||Shane van Gisbergen||VIP Petfoods / Tekno Autosports||+ 2 laps|
|27.||Lee Holdsworth||IRWIN Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 3 laps|
|28.||Scott McLaughlin||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 4 laps|
Red Bull Racing’s domination continued in Race 2 as Jamie Whincup and RBR made history today by taking the 1-2 home in the afternoon’s second race.
There was no doubt in any American fan’s mind who the Championship leader was after Whincup powered to the win for a second time this weekend, followed again by Craig Lowndes and Holden’s Fabian Coulthard.
Jamie thinks this weekend might be a turning point for the team.
"We were quite off the pace at the start of the year. We were nowhere near the quickest car out there," Whincup said.
"Finally now we’ve got a car which can challenge for wins. We’ve made a step up.
"All sport all over the world goes in swings and roundabouts. A team at the top generally plummets down to the bottom then comes back to the top three or four years later.
"We’re pretty proud of our efforts to stay at a competitive level for a long period of time."
Whincup started on pole and cruised to a victory with little threatening his decisive win.
It seems that the previous race experience that RBR study so rigorously wasn’t even needed for the team to assert their dominance. Craig Lowndes commented on the improvements between races for his drive, though.
"We made adjustments to the cars between the races, I wasn’t happy with the car at the end of the first race, we had too much understeer. Because we ran so long we put on fresh rears and we had too much understeer, so we adjusted our thinking and made a rear spring change. The car was better in the late part of the first race.
"The reason we pitted early was I struggled with the rear tyre. I burned it up too fast but you live and learn so we’ll be smarter tomorrow. I was more satisfied with race two than race one." Lowndes said at the end of the race.
"Anytime you get pole, stand on the podium and spray champagne is a great day though.
“We’ve got a little bit of work to do but our lap speed is not too bad. We’ve just got to make it a bit more consistent.”
Struggling again was Ford, with Winterbottom and Davison placing sixth and ninth respectively. Tekno Autosports duo Webb and Van Gisbergen were in fourth and fifth respectively, with Scott McLaughlin, Rick Kelly and James Moffat rounding out the top ten. The Altima was unable to perform as well in Race 2 of the weekend, running out of fuel and frustrating the younger Kelly brother. The Nissan VK56DE engine is a more American-style gas guzzler than anything!
“We knew if the race went green all the way we would be tight on fuel,” Kelly said. “It’s just the way it is for us. We are brand new and they set the race lengths so that we have to fill the thing to the brim to get there.
“We kept ‘Frosty’ behind with a horsepower advantage and every other advantage you could poke a stick with and we had the guy covered. But we lost two spots when the fuel ran out.”
It was still a winning weekend nonetheless for Nissan who recorded two top ten finishes. The 20 turn circuit definitely played to their strengths and reduced the effect of their power deficit to their Holden and Ford counterparts.
Winterbottom lamented the circuit’s tendencies to highlight slight imbalances in handling and driveability.
It was a tough day and by the end we probably were sixth-fastest and we finished sixth so we just need to work on the car for tomorrow. It is one of those tracks that exaggerates slight handling imbalances so we are probably not far off where we need to be but it looks like we are so that’s something we’ll work on overnight.”
2013 V8 Supercars Austin 400 – Race 2 Final Classification (27 laps):
|Driver||Entry / Team||Result|
|1.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||43:16.6491|
|2.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Racing AU / Triple 8 Engineering||+ 1.0981|
|3.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 10.6924|
|4.||Jonathon Webb||Tekno Autosports||+ 10.8520|
|5.||Shane van Gisbergen||VIP Petfoods / Tekno Autosports||+ 11.1946|
|6.||Mark Winterbottom||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||+ 14.9792|
|7.||Scott McLaughlin||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 16.5465|
|8.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 17.0775|
|9.||Will Davison||Pepsi Max Crew / Ford Performance Racing||+ 20.6301|
|10.||James Moffat||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 20.8736|
|11.||David Reynolds||Bottle-O Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 21.6482|
|12.||Alexandre Prémat||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 23.6236|
|13.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team / TWR||+ 27.2180|
|14.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team / TWR||+ 32.4208|
|15.||Michael Caruso||Norton 360 Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 32.5614|
|16.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing / Nissan Motorsport||+ 34.2161|
|17.||Alex Davison||Jeld-Wen Racing / Ford Performance Racing||+ 36.1665|
|18.||Russell Ingall||SuperCheap Auto Racing / TWR||+ 42.0407|
|19.||Chaz Mostert||Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 42.3644|
|20.||Lee Holdsworth||IRWIN Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 42.6633|
|21.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||+ 44.6860|
|22.||Scott Pye||EKOL Racing / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 46.3050|
|23.||Dean Fiore||Dodo Insurance / Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 51.8150|
|24.||Tim Blanchard||Wilson Security Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 53.0576|
|25.||Tony D’Alberto||HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing||+ 59.4383|
|26.||Tim Slade||Heavy Haulage Racing / Erebus Motorsport||+ 3 laps|
|DNF.||Maro Engel||SP Tools Racing / Erebus Motorsport||3 laps|
|DNF.||David Wall||Wilson Security Racing / Brad Jones Racing||0 laps|