Have I told you how much I love Hidden Valley?
In fact, all of Darwin really – love the place.
The heat is gold – sorry to rub it in for those who spent the weekend shivering through some ordinary weather.
The people are fantastic.
And the track – well, it’s the best.
I leave the Top End a happy boy after a couple of weekends I’ll long remember – especially this past one.
To sweep the weekend – winning all three races was just awesome. And to extend our championship lead from 101 points out to 177 was as good as we could have hoped for. In fact, it was better.
Add to that was a 49th race win on Saturday to move one past the legendary Peter Brock’s 48 victories was a serious pinch-me moment.
To hit 50 on Sunday at noon I felt like a cricketer when I hopped out of the car and wanted to raise my bat!
Then we were able to make it 51 wins by the end of the weekend.
It’s enormously satisfying – especially to think that my name is even in the same conversation with Brocky – let alone moving a couple of wins past his overall tally.
I don’t lose sight of how fortunate I am.
To drive for Dick Johnson and Roger Penske – even now it still blows my mind. To have Ludo Lacroix by my side calling the shots is the best ally I could ask for.
To be the lucky one to race my Ford Mustang – which was as good as any race car I’ve ever sat in on the weekend.
This doesn’t happen by accident – it happens because I have the best bunch of guys and girls working on the #17 – I’m proud and privileged. It’s a bloody nice spot to be in is this really strange year we’re all living through.
Even my starts – I’ll be honest, they’ve not been a weakness, but something I’ve had to work overtime on making the best they can be. And I made three crackers on the weekend, and led the field in each of the three races by turn one. I was smiling like a Cheshire cat underneath my helmet on each occasion!
So we leave the top end – in all there were four poles, four race wins and six front row starts across the two events – it’s a nice issue when the team is struggling to squeeze the trophies into the transporter bound for Queensland.
Next, we all head like a travelling circus for Townsville for another two events. We move back to a street circuit – which as you guys know, is where I feel Supercars are at their best.
A special shout out to the Queensland Government and the Townsville Council who have been able to build the circuit in these challenging times – and I’m so pleased we can pay the region back with back-to-back events. I really hope we put on a great show!
Again my focus will be on stretching the series lead over Jamie and the 888 guys.
If we can keep extending our title lead – and who knows how many more events we’ll have in this year’s championship – I’d love to be able to go to Bathurst and not have to worry about playing the points game. So for the moment, that’s my focus. But we know the #88 & #97 have been the cars to catch the past few years at Townsville – so it looms as a great battle.
In closing, I hope everyone is coping OK in these difficult times – especially at home in New Zealand, and my “other” old home in Melbourne. Lockdown is tough going – especially with the weather as feral as it’s been.
So I hope when we hit the track we can give you some enjoyment.
Seeya at Townsville.