Jim Beam Racing's James Courtney made up for his late disappointment in race one with victory in race two of the Telstra 500 at Homebush.
Courtney led virtually the whole race, but did not have it easy in the first half of the race as other drivers challenged him. Ultimately all his main rivals fell by the wayside, and Courtney took the win a handful of seconds ahead of Garry Rogers Motorsport's Michael Caruso.
Third was Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom, a remarkable result after a spin on lap 20 dropped him from ninth to 18th. But four safety car periods during the race and dramas for several other drivers allowed him to climb back through the order despite a brush with the wall late in the race which saw him lose a door skin.
Russell Ingall, Fabian Coulthard and Shane van Gisbergen finished fourth, fifth and sixth after starting 21st, 20th and 19th, respectively, and any cars still running well being good enough to get a position at the front of the field at the end of the race.
Greg Murphy finished seventh despite spinning at the restart on lap 33 and dropping from second position to 18th as well as damaging the rear section of the car. The two Davisons, Will and Alex were next in eighth and ninth, with Steven Johnson completing the top 10, the final car on the lead lap.
There were plenty of other drivers who looked set for good results before their day turned bad, as only 16 of the 29 cars that started the race were running at the finish, with a few of those 16 limping their way home.
After his troubles in qualifying, series champion Jamie Whincup tore through the field in the early running, and looked set for a possible top-five finish. But for the second day in a row he outbraked himself on cold tires at Turn 1 after a pit stop. Unlike yesterday, he tried to make the corner and got stuck in the tires, losing two laps and eventually finishing 14th, four laps down.
Todd Kelly was running fifth in the closing stages but a lack of electrical charge forced him to pit, retiring soon after. Jason Bright had an even bigger disappointment, passing Courtney for the lead just after half-distance before receiving a drive-through penalty for an unsafe pit release, dropping from first to 13th.
His day got even worse a few laps later when he hit the wall near the end of the lap, retiring straight after. Just behind him was Craig Lowndes, who crashed at the same corner even harder, ending his day as well. A few laps earlier, Lowndes had also received a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release, which had dropped him from fourth to 15th.
Garth Tander's hopes of beating teammate Will Davison for second in the championship disappeared when he and Michael Caruso made contact as Caruso passed him for fourth position, damaging his steering and leaving him unable to restart the car after it stalled. Until then, Tander had looked on track to overhaul Davison as his rival struggled for the second day in a row.
Two other Holden drivers had their chances of a win disappear early on, Rick Kelly hitting the wall at Turn 8 while running second on lap 10, losing four places, before hitting it again three laps later, ending his race for good.
Garry Rogers Motorsport's Lee Holdsworth was on target to match or better his teammate's result, pushing hard as the race headed toward one-third distance as he tried to leapfrog Courtney for the lead during the first round of pit stops. But a mistake at the notorious Turn 8 saw him plow into the tires, and his race as well as a chance of a win was gone.
Pos Driver Make Time
1. James Courtney Ford Falcon FG 2:08:16.0105
2. Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE + 3.9087
3. Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG + 10.6865
4. Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE + 13.2783
5. Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG + 14.9597
6. Shane Van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG + 20.7693
7. Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE + 25.9038
8. Will Davison Holden Commodore VE + 32.8472
9. Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG + 42.8316
10. Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG + 1:13.1200
11. David Reynolds Holden Commodore VE + 1 laps
12. Michael Patrizi Ford Falcon BF + 1 laps
13. Paul Dumbrell Holden Commodore VE + 2 laps
14. Jamie Whincup Ford Falcon FG + 4 laps
15. Steven Richards Ford Falcon FG + 7 laps
16. Tim Slade Holden Commodore VE + 10 laps
Driver Make Laps
Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE 57
Tony D'Alberto Holden Commodore VE 56
Jason Bright Ford Falcon FG 55
Craig Lowndes Ford Falcon FG 55
Cameron McConville Holden Commodore VE 54
Mark McNally Holden Commodore VE 47
Jason Bargwanna Holden Commodore VE 38
Dean Fiore Holden Commodore VE 37
Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE 28
Jack Perkins Holden Commodore VE 26
Jason Richards Holden Commodore VE 24
Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VE 21
Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE 12