Well as weeks go – that was a good one.
A milestone 250th race start, a race win, a championship lead extended beyond 200 points, and the IndyCar announcement becoming official, made that a satisfying few days.
I’m a lucky bloke right now.
One victory, another podium, a penalty, and being turned around was my part in what was a brilliant weekend of racing at Tailem Bend for the category.
It was seriously chaotic and wild – especially Saturday – that was one of the best races in any form of motorsport for the year.
So again, kudos to the sport and to the guys and girls at Tailem Bend for making the event happen at such short notice.
Jamie Whincup didn’t have one of his best weekends which allowed us to stretch our lead in the title fight from 143 points out to 215 and places us in a great position.
I was constantly mindful of the championship – in Sunday’s opening race it was a points game in the end, especially with Jamie down the back.
Times like these you have to think of the big picture.
In the opening Sunday race we finished third and JW 17th – which was terrible for him, but great for us.
We’ll try like hell again this weekend to stretch that – I can’t tell you how much of a relief it would be to try and get it above 300 in the penultimate event of the year, just so Bathurst can be a free-for-all.
Knowing Jamie well enough – I have a feeling he’ll hit back with a vengeance this weekend – and remember, there are still 600 points up for grabs between The Bend #2 and then Bathurst – so there’s still a hell of a lot to play out here.
We got the win in the final race of the weekend ahead of my teammate Fabian Coulthard – who won the round – and answered his critics in the best possible way.
I was so pleased for Fabs to get that sort of result after Townsville – and it was huge for the squad as we took back the lead in the team’s championship.
The controversy for me was race one of Saturday. To be spun from the lead was bloody frustrating – and then to cop a penalty ourselves after fighting back near the front was just as painful.
I still don’t regret the move on Lee Holdsworth.
I had a go and I’ll never apologise for having a go, and I still don’t agree with the penalty for it. It wasn’t a desperate move at all as was suggested – I was just having a go and the move was on.
In the end, I’m dirty on myself for even getting in that position – when a podium finish was up for grabs and would have been even more really valuable points.
I’ll buy Lee a slab and I’m sure he’ll get over it.
This weekend we return to the Bend – this time on the shorter West Circuit – for the OTR SuperSprint…. and then it’s on to Bathurst!
Following Mount Panorama as I’m sure you saw late last week, we’ll be heading to the USA to make our debut in the IndyCar Series.
I’m so thankful to Roger Penske and his team for making it happen – and I’m so thrilled it’s been announced this early to help me get my head around the enormity of the deal.
It’s obviously a massive opportunity for me and now allows me to focus 100% on getting these last few weekends in the Supercars right – before heading for St Petersburg.
My experience in the IndyCar at the start of the year was awesome – but to go and wrestle one around a street circuit will be something else! No room for error!
But it’s always been a carrot dangling for me – which is why I’ve worked so hard across the year to drop weight and be as fit as I have ever been.
I know there’s plenty of speculation about what it might lead to – but just to get the opportunity to try it and show what I can do is the main thing for me. In this weird year it would have been easy for the Penske guys just to cancel any thought of running a fourth car – so it means a hell of a lot to me that they’re invested in giving me my shot.
But for now – it’s eye’s forward on The Bend. With no AFL on at all before their finals series, we’ll have a whole lot more eyeballs, so hope this weekend is a ripper.
Take care guys. Talk soon.