Jamie Whincup claimed his fifth win of the V8 Supercar season in race one at Winton, as his polesitting Triple Eight Holden teammate Craig Lowndes had a disastrous afternoon and came home only 11th.
Lowndes' problems began with a poor start that immediately dropped him behind front row partner Steven Johnson (Dick Johnson Ford), Garry Rodgers Holden driver Lee Holdsworth, and Whincup. The latter managed to pass Holdsworth for second on lap 13, then jumped Johnson in the pit stops, with the erstwhile leader also falling behind Holdsworth during the stops.
Whincup was then able to edge away and take another win, while Holdsworth resisted Johnson for the runner-up spot by just half a second.
Lowndes lost further ground when he was pounced on by several rivals as he rejoined on cold tyres following his stop, and later had a trip off the road at Turn 11, leaving him outside the top 10 at the finish.
Rick Kelly drove a strong race to come through from 12th on the grid to fourth ahead of Paul Dumbrell, Alex Davison and Jason Bright, the latter coming out best in a late dust-up with Garth Tander as the HRT car – which fell to 12th in the end – struggled on fading tires.
After his poor qualifying result, James Courtney gambled on a very late pit stop and led for a while, then made the best of his fresher rubber to surge through the field as his rivals' tires wilted, getting him up to eighth by the flag.