Jamie Whincup clinched his third V8 Supercars title in four years with an eighth-place finish in a tense finale in Sydney, which was won by Mark Winterbottom. Whincup's title rival Craig Lowndes finished second after a late charge up the order, but it was not enough to deny his Triple Eight Holden teammate the crown.
The race itself was largely decided by tire choice amid early rain showers. All bar fifth-place starter Paul Dumbrell (Rod Nash/Ford Performance Racing) left the grid on wets, but with the track less damp than anticipated, over half the field dived in for slicks at the end of the formation lap.
Poleman Will Davison (Ford Performance Racing) and the Triple Eight duo were among those who stayed on wets, with Lowndes slotting in behind Davison early on as Whincup dropped to fifth, following James Courtney (Holden Racing Team) and Dumbrell, although the points leader moved back to third on lap six when Courtney and Dumbrell slid off and down the order as the rain briefly returned.
Conditions soon improved, though, with the leaders all coming in around lap 12, allowing those who had already taken slicks to hit the front, led initially by Tony D'Alberto, while Davison, Lowndes and Whincup fell to 14th, 15th and 20th respectively.
D'Alberto was soon passed by Winterbottom, Lee Holdsworth (Garry Rogers Holden) and Dumbrell, before plunging down the order when he had to take to an escape road to avoid a dive from HRT's Garth Tander. A suspension breakage later led to D'Alberto's race ending in a heavy impact with the barriers.
Dumbrell passed Holdsworth for second heading into the second half of the race and proceeded to put pressure on Winterbottom, while Lowndes and Whincup made it back up to seventh and ninth approaching the final stops, despite both losing ground in separate close calls with Paul Morris Holden driver Russell Ingall.
A clash between Todd Kolly and Tander on lap 49 triggered a safety car and meant a very congested pitlane for the final stops. The lead order did not change and Lowndes managed to get out in eighth, but Whincup had to queue behind his team-mate and tumbled to 17th.
The title rivals started charging forward after the restart, and though Lowndes made rapid progress, Whincup soon reached the 12th place he required to secure the championship whatever his teammate did.
Lowndes made it up to second five laps from the end when Dumbrell spun and was collected by Holdsworth, this incident and a separate crash for Will Davison prompting a final safety car and a two-lap sprint finish.
Winterbottom was able to resist Lowndes and win by 0.7sec, with Shane van Gisbergen third for Stone Brothers Ford ahead of Tekno's Jonathon Webb, Ingall, Michael Caruso (Garry Rogers Holden), Courtney and the euphoric Whincup.