Supercars: David Reynolds takes finale, Scott McLaughlin takes championship
Scott McLaughlin (DJR Team Penske) is the Australian Supercars champion for 2018! The 25-year-old driver of the #17 Ford Falcon took the title after finishing second in the final race of the season, the Newcastle 500 at Newcastle Street Circuit. It is the eighth drivers’ championship for Dick Johnson’s team, and the first since Team Penske take the ownership four years ago.
McLaughlin’s was to his maiden Supercars Championship title has been eased by a penalty to Saturday’s winner Shane van Gisbergen. A 25-second time penalty has stripped SVG of his Saturday win and cost him critical ground in the championship. Stewards have confirmed the time penalty on Sunday morning following last night’s investigation into an alleged refuelling breach at his third pitstop. The fuel hose remained connected when the car was being dropped to the ground, which contravenes regulations.
Van Gisbergen’s penalty drops him from first to fifth in the race result, behind Scott McLaughlin, David Reynolds, Jamie Whincup and Scott Pye. In the championship points, he dropped to 53 points behind McLaughlin. For McLaughlin, it was enough to finish sixth if Van Gisbergen wins again in Sunday’s race.
But, the driver of the #17 Ford wanted to finish the year in style so he was in the lead for most of the race, from lap 21 to lap 90. When he was attacked by David Reynolds with five laps remaining, McLaughlin didn’t want to risk any damage so he handed a win to the driver of the #9 Erebus Motorsport Holden Commodore. It’s the third win of the season for Reynolds and the seventh in a career.
The main championship rival Shane van Gisbergen finished fourth, behind teammate Jamie Whincup. Van Gisbergen ended the season 71 points behind McLaughlin.
“Everyone here work so hard. We have to pay respect to Shane, we raced so hard all year, it’s been a hell of a battle. With 30 to go, I thought ‘this could be on’ and it was the longest 30 laps of my life. Holy smokes, I just can’t believe we’ve done it,” McLaughlin said after the race.