Jamie Whincup notches another V8 win
Jamie Whincup's best weekend of 2012 might be the catalyst for another successful V8 Supercars season for the Holden star.
Whincup has stretched his championship lead to 100 points after a dominant display in Townsville, claiming victory in Sunday's 200km race to add to Saturday's win at the Reid Park street circuit.
The three-time champion was made to work hard for Sunday's victory after holding off teammate Craig Lowndes in a fascinating finish where the TeamVodafone pair exchanged the lead several times.
It means Whincup has five wins for the season - three coming in the past four races - and will have Ford Performance Racing's (FPR) Will Davison and Mark Winterbottom wondering if their own title challenges could be slipping away.
Davison finished third behind the TeamVodafone pair but ends the weekend behind Winterbottom in the championship standings having entered the previous round in Darwin as the title leader.
Winterbottom is Whincup's nearest rival but had to settle for a fifth-place finish after fading in the closing laps to be passed by Holden's Garth Tander.
The FPR duo dominated the early stages of Sunday's race along with teammate David Reynolds - who claimed the first pole position of his V8 career - but TeamVodafone took control by passing all three Fords in two crucial pit stops midway through the 72-lap event.
Whincup said the following battle with Lowndes had made his fifth win from eight starts in Townsville a very satisfying one.
"That was a cracker race," he said.
"I've never raced with Craig so hard.
"We had a cracking battle with two good cars, tyres wearing out ... hanging off the walls - it was all good stuff. Fantastic credit to the team."
Davison, who salvaged something from the weekend after his disappointing 12th-placed finish in Saturday's race, admitted FPR couldn't match their TeamVodafone rivals this weekend.
"Third is all we could do," the 2009 championship runner-up said.
"We maximised our race - we maximised our strategy. We've got some work to do but, considering where I was this time yesterday, it's a huge turnaround."
Whincup was under investigation for spinning his tyres during his first pit stop before dropping down from his air jacks, but team principal Adrian Burgess didn't believe his man would incur a penalty.