In Melbourne this afternoon, Broc Feeney and Jamie Whincup of Red Bull Racing Team claimed victory in the Penrite Oil Sandown 500, setting the stage for the 60th anniversary Repco Bathurst 1000 next month.
Feeney, the 20-year-old Gold Coast native, took over the reins from Whincup and managed to hold onto the race lead in a nail-biting finish. The young gun didn’t just win the Sandown 500; he etched his name in the record books as the youngest-ever Sandown 500 champion and the youngest winner of a championship race at this iconic venue.
Whincup, a Supercars great, also made history by clinching his fifth Sandown 500 victory and securing his third consecutive Sandown 500 title, adding to his triumphs in 2018 and 2019.
The race delivered its fair share of drama, with a late bp Ultimate Safety Car period adding a thrilling twist for the passionate fans who had flocked to the historic Victorian track. Brodie Kostecki made a daring move to snatch the lead from Feeney late in the race but found himself unable to pass the #88 Chevrolet, leaving Feeney to claim the top spot.
Shane van Gisbergen, starting from a challenging 19th position, showcased his prowess by securing the final spot on the podium in the dying laps of the race. His ascent was facilitated when Kostecki’s teammate, Will Brown, went wide, opening the door for the defending Supercars Champion to seize valuable Championship points.
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for some of the Ford stars like Cam Waters, Chaz Mostert, and David Reynolds, whose races were marred by early-race damage caused while their co-drivers were at the helm.
Reynolds didn’t even get a chance to turn a lap as Garth Tander crashed out when a wheel dislodged from the #26 Penrite Mustang, colliding with Waters’ #6 Monster Energy Ford and shearing off the rear wing.
Mostert’s #25 Mobil 1 Optus Ford also suffered early damage, with Lee Holdsworth behind the wheel, and later incurred a penalty for a late clash with Declan Fraser and Tyler Everingham in the #56 TRADIE Mustang. Consequently, Mostert/Holdsworth finished 19th, while Waters/Moffat claimed the 21st position.
Reynolds/Tander, along with Hill/Jaylyn Robotham, were the unfortunate retirements of the race.
Feeney’s victory, however, shone like a beacon of success, with a winning margin of 0.9816 seconds at the end. This triumph marked the 250th Supercars victory for Triple Eight, a team that made its debut at Sandown way back in 2003. For Feeney, it was his maiden Sandown 500 victory, while Whincup added another remarkable achievement to his illustrious career.
The top five was rounded out by Andre Heimgartner/Dale Wood (#8 R&J Batteries Camaro), Matt Payne/Kevin Estre (#19 Penrite Mustang), and the Shell V-Power Racing Team duo of Will Davison/Alex Davison (#17 Mustang) and Anton De Pasquale/Tony D’Alberto (#11 Mustang). Tim Slade/Jonathon Webb (#23 Nulon Camaro) and Craig Lowndes/Zane Goddard (#88 Supercheap Auto Camaro) completed the top 10.
As the Supercars Championship heads to Bathurst, Kostecki will carry an extended 155-point lead over van Gisbergen, with Feeney 204 points behind in third place. Brown now finds himself 294 points adrift of his teammate, and Triple Eight has slashed Erebus’ teams’ championship lead to just 65 points.