IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom sealed a top ten finish in the final race at the NTI Townsville 500.

Nulon Racing’s Scott Pye put in a stellar qualifying performance to progress through to his second Top 10 Shootout for the weekend, starting eighth for the afternoon’s 88-lap encounter.

Pye made a blinding start off the line, moving into fourth by the first corner. Unfortunately Pye was taken out of the race while attempting a move for third on Davison at Turn 3.

Starting 19th, Winterbottom was caught up in the chaos on Lap 1 and copped a hit to the rear-left quarter.

Winterbottom pressed on through the first stint as the crew made quick repairs to the IRWIN Commodore during his first compulsory stop.

Winterbottom rejoined in 19th for the final stint on Super Softs and charged through to 10th position to end the Townsville event on a high.

Team 18 returns to action for the OTR SuperSprint at The Bend Motorsport Park on 29-31 July.

QUOTES & RESULTS

Mark Winterbottom, #18 IRWIN Racing Holden ZB Commodore 

Qualifying: 19th (1:13.8967)
Race 20: 10th (Fastest Lap: 1:14.2590)

“We had a way quicker car today. Our car was quick in qualifying but we still had some issues but we started the race in 19th and the car was reliable. 

“I got drilled in the back at Turn 1 after having a really good start and went a bit wounded in that first stint and had a rear guard rubbing on the tyre for 30 laps, then we pitted, put a heap of fuel in and did some cheeky repairs and the car took off.”

“Our second and third stints were very quick and I drove back through from about 20th to 10th, passing a heap of cars.

“It was really a weekend of what could have been, we have a bit of work to regroup and get our bits all sorted and get ready for the next event.

“It’s a good vibe here, I think Team 18 is doing some great things and unfortunately there are some things which didn’t go my way. We’re building, we’ve got a great crew here and i think we’re only going to get better.”

Scott Pye, #20 Nulon Racing Holden ZB Commodore

Qualifying: 9th (1:13.6153)
Top 10 Shootout: 8th (1:15.2094)
Race 20: NC

“A lot of positives to take away from the weekend but one huge negative with the DNF in the last race. 

“Our car speed all weekend was great, made the top 10 shootout on both days so we qualified well

“In the last race I made a great start and was trying to pass for third through Turn 3, clipped the apex kerb and bounced wide which forced Davison into the tyre barrier and he then bounced back out and hit my rear wheel, spun me around and tore the suspension out of the car.

“Unfortunately it happens, we’re pushing hard to try and get through. Hindsight would be wonderful right now to go relive it all but we take the positives and focus on the next event which is our great car speed and go to The Bend feeling confident with that and hopefully we can snag a couple more results like we did on Saturday.”