Scott McLaughlin has revealed that his clash with team-mate Fabian Coulthard on the opening lap of Race 13 drew an overnight email from team owner Roger Penske.
Both Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustangs ran off the road in the first race of the Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint after they touched on the way into the Turn 5 sweeper.
McLaughlin ran through the infield and rejoined before Turn 9, in accordance with instructions issued in the drivers briefing, and still went on to win the race while Coulthard finished 15th after copping a 15-second penalty for the hit.
DJR Team Penske’s managing director told Speedcafe.com that the team “sorted it out before the podium” yesterday afternoon, and there was no repeat in Sunday’s Race 14 as the pair converted a front row lockout into a comfortable one-two finish.
McLaughlin had mused in the aftermath of Race 13 that “I’m sure I won’t have any texts from America tonight,” a reference to the usual congratulatory messages which come from Penske himself after a win.
However, there was in fact an email from ‘The Captain’, who closely follows the fortunes of his Virgin Australia Supercars Championship team from the United States, regarding the incident between his Kiwi drivers.
“Yeah, well we got an email from Roger basically telling us ‘Don’t hit each other’,” laughed McLaughlin when he was asked on Supercars Trackside if there was a ‘conversation’ within the team about the matter last night.
“You know, team points are vital.”
McLaughlin’s third win on the trot in Race 14 extended his lead over Coulthard at the top of the drivers’ standings to 244 points, the equivalent of just over 80 percent of a perfect event.
It was also DJRTP’s sixth one-two finish of the season, four of which have come in the past six races, and all of those won by the Stapylton outfit, leaving it 649 points clear of the Red Bull Holden Racing Team in the team’s championship.
Maximum points for a team in each event of the season is 576.
McLaughlin also revealed on Supercars Trackside after Race 14 that he adopted a different Safety Car procedure after letting a win slip from his grasp at Winton a year ago.
On that occasion, he was odds on to win the Saturday race before the field was closed up by a Safety Car.
There was no repeat just over 12 months later, as he made a good getaway on cold tyres and comfortably held on to first position through the first two corners of Winton Motor Raceway.
The 2018 champion put the strong restart down to keeping his tyres warm even while trundling around behind the Safety Car, despite the more conventional advice from engineer Ludo Lacroix to allow them to cool.
“I made a mistake here last year, I cooled the tyres down too much,” recalled McLaughlin.
“Ludo’s like ‘Cool the tyres down,’ and I’m like, ‘Nah, nah, nah, I’m just going to keep them warm the whole time in the Safety Car period,’ so I felt really strong on that restart.
“I was pretty soft into (Turn) 1 but made sure I got through there and away we went.”
McLaughlin eased to victory in the six laps which remained, his 10th win of the season so far.