The 2017 championship came down to the second last lap after more than 6,000 Kilometers of racing. Scott McLaughlin was hunting down the Commodores of his old team and after a bold move on arguably the hardest guy in the field to pass, Garth Tander he closed in on his former teammate. He overtook James Moffat but took the ever closing Craig Lowndes with him. A mistake at turn one gave Lowndes the opportunity to run up alongside McLaughlin before contact ripped the front left corner out of the 888 Commodore. With one lap to go the stewards had to make a decision because any decision made in the race cannot be argued against and Supercars needed the Championship decided at the event and not in a court room three weeks later.
It’s amazing what Supercars can throw up in the final round, Rick Kelly’s contact on Lowndes at Phillip Island 2006 springs to mind along with Homebush 2010 where all three championship contenders hit the same fence on the same lap at the same time and 2011 where Lowndes and Jamie Whincup battled it out.
The racing is intense and somehow action always finds the car that’s in championship contention. Although Scotty made the mistakes himself I honestly believe he is the best driver we have seen in a long time. He’s up there with the Lowndes, Whincup, Skaife and the Ambrose as the greatest in the modern era, possibly even of all time.
Before the final race of 2017 he won the fan favorite award. Lowndes has owned that award since its introduction in 2013. I think the reason we all love Scotty is that he wears his heart on his sleeve; the excitement of his first win at home in New Zealand, finishing second after a late race battle with Jamie Whincup in only the Volvos second race in Adelaide. He would also go on to swear on live TV which is always popular with Australian audiences. It was through bitter disappointment that we saw the true colours of Scott McLaughlin; Bathurst in 2014 which turned into heartbreak in 2015 due to unreliability but he kept his composure and was mature about the whole issues just like at 2016 Bathurst after the battle with Whincup and Garth Tander which ended in the garage. It was exactly the same story in Newcastle, it didn’t go his way, but he acted with maturity and took responsibility, which he has always done.
There’s a saying that fits McLaughlin’s character perfectly which is “a old head on young shoulders”. He will be a Supercars champion, and a Bathurst winner if he stays in this sport long enough, he’s in the perfect place with Penske to move up and race anywhere in the world – he is that good.