Scott McLaughlin will unofficially seal the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship just by finishing today’s Penrite Oil Sandown 500.
McLaughlin moved to exactly 500 points clear of Shane van Gisbergen at the top of the table when he took the chequered flag in fifth position in Race 29 and his compatriot failed to make the end.
The Shell V-Power Racing Team driver needs to lead by only 300 points at the end of today to back up his 2018 crown given that the first tie-break, number of race wins, is overwhelmingly in his favour.
With fourth position in today’s 161-lap enduro worth 200 points, van Gisbergen and co-driver Garth Tander, who are set to start last, must make the podium at the very least to keep the championship mathematically alive.
However, with a win in Race 30 paying 250 points and a finish of 25th yielding 50, McLaughlin and Alexandre Premat need only be classified as finishers for the 26-year-old to leave Sandown at least 300 points up on van Gisbergen.
That is, if Car #97 does win and Car #17 finishes 25th, the difference in the championship standings will be exactly 300 points.
Warm up takes place from 1000 local time/AEDT, with Car #17 set to start the Sandown 500 itself from fifth on the grid at 1325 local time/AEDT.