Jim Beam Racing's James Courtney dominated race two of the Ipswich 300 Australian V8 Supercar event at Queensland Raceway after polesitter and early race leader Jamie Whincup was forced to retire with a blown engine after a restart.
Whincup was leading and looked set for victory or a strong battle with Courtney but his hopes disappeared as soon as the race restarted on lap 27, immediately getting passed by several cars, parking the car in the pits at the end of the next lap with a broken rocker.
Courtney had lost a few seconds during the first stint but the safety car period for Jason Bargwanna's broken engine bunched the field, Courtney taking over at the front although losing the lead for a lap to Tander just after he'd taken it from Whincup.
From there on it was plain sailing for Courtney as he pulled away in a commanding fashion, although a decision to stay out later before making his final pit stop saw him rejoin only just in the lead. But with fresher tires, he pulled away once more, winning by over 11 seconds.
Second was Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander, who had lost the place to Ingall during the second round of pitstops after pitting just one lap later than Ingall, before taking the place back with 10 laps remaining.
Third, and closing on Tander fast, was Shane van Gisbergen, repeating his race one performance. Having dropped from fifth to sixth during the final round of pit stops, he then used his superior grip to pick off cars ahead to almost steal second place at the finish.
Russell Ingall just held on to fourth place doing the opposite, pitting early for the final time and slowly dropping down the order. Team Vodafone's Craig Lowndes was fifth, and on a day when his teammate lost out on a possible win, his day didn't end completely happy either.
Running third right behind Tander and with Ingall right behind him before his final pit stop, he stayed out six laps longer than Ingall and five laps longer than Tander, pitting as late in the race as anyone for their final stop.
What had been third was now 11th, and despite fresher tires and much better pace than almost all of those ahead of him, instead of possibly moving up to second ahead of Tander, he finished fifth over five seconds behind him despite passing six cars in the final 17 laps.
One of those cars he passed was Fujitsu Racing's Michael Caruso, who had qualified 27th. He had made up ten places before his own first stop, and when the safety car came out for Bargwanna's stranded car, he gained even more ground, taking the restart in ninth. During the middle of the race he moved up to seventh, and by pitting early for his final stop, moved up even further to fourth. The early stop cost him in the closing laps but a sixth place after starting third to last was a remarkable effort.
Completing the top-10 finishers were Rick Kelly, the race winner's teammate Steven Johnson, and a couple of good drives by Steven Richards and Tony D'Alberto. Tander's team-mate Will Davison struggled again particularly early in the race on his way to 16th place.
While Caruso had a great race, his teammate Lee Holdsworth had a bad one. Having qualified fifth, he struggled to get moving at the start and fell back through the order. He compounded his dramas by moving across to the right just as Mark Winterbottom was passing him on the inside.
Though Holdsworth's move wasn't aggressive, it was still enough to clip the back of Winterbottom's car hard enough to spin him across Holdsworth's nose and hard into the fence on the other side of the track, ending Winterbottom's day on the spot. Despite moving across with another car alongside him and ending that driver's race, no penalty was given. However, damage to Holdsworth's car saw him spend time in the pits, finish 10 laps down in last place.
Whincup's DNF has big implications in the title fight. Despite his six wins and only finishing once outside the top five (when controversially blackflagged for loose bodywork at Adelaide) before today's DNF, Whincup's lead in the championship is almost nothing, just 24 points over Courtney.
207 points behind Whincup is Shane van Gisbergen, who along with several other drivers including Garth Tander 12 points behind van Gisbergen and Craig Lowndes three points behind Tander, have leaped ahead this weekend of Mark Winterbottom and Lee Holdsworth after those drivers' dramas today.
Pos Driver Make Time
1. James Courtney Ford Falcon FG 1h26m25.0810s
2. Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE + 11.5168s
3. Shane Van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG + 13.4696s
4. Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE + 16.7235s
5. Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VE + 16.9760s
6. Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE + 20.1531s
7. Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE + 21.0493s
8. Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG + 21.7347s
9. Steven Richards Ford Falcon FG + 26.7032s
10. Tony D'Alberto Holden Commodore VE + 27.9506s
11. Jason Bright Holden Commodore VE + 30.2862s
12. Jonathon Webb Ford Falcon FG + 37.0768s
13. Jason Richards Holden Commodore VE + 39.8781s
14. Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE + 44.1166s
15. Dean Fiore Ford Falcon FG + 44.3644s
16. Will Davison Holden Commodore VE + 53.1350s
17. Tim Slade Ford Falcon FG + 57.8693s
18. Daniel Gaunt Holden Commodore VE + 1m00.1906s
19. Paul Dumbrell Ford Falcon FG + 1m02.8283s
20. Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore VE + 1m03.8137s
21. Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG + 1m03.9028s
22. Tony Ricciardello Holden Commodore VE + 1m11.6993s
23. Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VE + 10 laps
Driver Make Laps
Karl Reindler Holden Commodore VE 53
Andrew Thompson Holden Commodore VE 41
Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VE 27
Jason Bargwanna Holden Commodore VE 20
Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE 4
Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG 0