Team Vodafone's Jamie Whincup took the inaugural race victory on the streets of Townsville in the first race of the Dunlop Townsville 400 despite mid-race contact with a lapped car.
The contact came as Whincup passed Tim Slade at the final hairpin at the end of lap 34, the first lap of the restart after the first safety car of the race.
The nose of Whincup's car clipped the rear of the lapped car of Jack Perkins, sending Perkins into a spin. However, stewards took no action over the incident. Whincup held on the rest of the way despite a late safety car period and a checkered flag falling on lap 72 but the results taken a lap earlier as the time limit had already expired.
Second and third were the Holden Racing Team duo of Will Davison and Garth Tander, with Whincup's team-mate Craig Lowndes fourth, Lowndes one of several drivers to make big gains when the first safety car came onto the track, Lowndes having struggled to move up the order in the early going.
Not far behind Lowndes was Michael Caruso in his Garry Rogers Holden, with Supercheap's Russell Ingall right on his tail. Rick Kelly and Mark Winterbottom moved up well from 19th and 16th on the grid to finish in seventh and eighth, with Cameron McConville and Todd Kelly completing the top ten.
While Whincup had some good luck, there were also two big hard luck stories to be told. Jim Beam Racing's James Courtney took the lead at the start having shown great pace throughout the weekend. But before the first lap was complete he was reporting engine problems, and on lap six he lost the lead as the problem got significantly worse, coming into the pits and retiring at the end of the lap, a great chance for a race win gone.
This moved Lee Holdsworth into the lead, a position he held until making his first pit stop on lap 20, resuming a couple of seconds behind Whincup who had moved up to second in the early laps after his less than stellar shootout performance. With four new tires versus two for Whincup, Holdsworth reeled in Whincup only to suffer terminal engine problems just as he caught Whincup, bringing out the first safety car as his chance to score a win disappeared as well.
Pos Driver Make Time
1. Jamie Whincup Ford Falcon FG 1:35:37.4475
2. Will Davison Holden Commodore VE + 1.4494
3. Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE + 1.7464
4. Craig Lowndes Ford Falcon FG + 3.0426
5. Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE + 4.4222
6. Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE + 4.8311
7. Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE + 9.5374
8. Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG + 9.7846
9. Cameron McConville Holden Commodore VE + 10.0476
10. Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE + 10.2367
11. Paul Dumbrell Holden Commodore VE + 10.7288
12. Shane Van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG + 11.0229
13. Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG + 11.3119
14. Jason Bargwanna Holden Commodore VE + 12.9040
15. Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG + 1 lap
16. Jason Bright Ford Falcon FG + 1 lap
17. Dean Fiore Holden Commodore VE + 1 lap
18. Jack Perkins Holden Commodore VE + 1 lap
19. Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE + 2 laps
20. Michael Patrizi Ford Falcon BF + 2 laps
21. Steven Richards Ford Falcon FG + 3 laps
22. David Reynolds Holden Commodore VE + 5 laps
23. Jason Richards Holden Commodore VE + 11 laps
24. Mark McNally Holden Commodore VE + 11 laps
Driver Make Laps
Tony D'Alberto Holden Commodore VE 67
Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG 60
Tim Slade Holden Commodore VE 42
Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VE 28
James Courtney Ford Falcon FG 5