THERE was simply no stopping Mark Winterbottom at the Townsville 400 as the fan favourite surged further ahead of his rivals with a clean sweep of the two 200km races.
The man nicknamed Frosty drove with ice blood through his veins across both races, with yesterday’s win over Holden Racing Team rival James Courtney and Prodrive Racing Australia teammate David Reynolds stretching his championship lead to 248 points.
Winterbottom started from fifth on the grid but was able to push ahead when his fellow drivers fell away and went relatively untroubled after a smooth passing manoeuvre to go ahead of Reynolds with 17 laps to go.
A bumper crowd was on hand to watch Winterbottom pilot his Ford Falcon FG X to a sixth victory of the 2015 season and the in- form driver was thrilled with how his team conquered the Reid Park circuit that troubled them last year.
“Those races were really good and the car in the final stint was amazing,” he said.
“It’s an awesome result for the team and for me personally. Last year, we had real struggles here so we put a lot of work into these cars and to have all cars competitive made it an awesome weekend.
“We are pushing along, qualifying in the right spots and that lets you race.”
The pair of Townsville wins added 300 points to Frosty’s total as he chases an overall drivers championship win that has eluded his decorated career so far but despite pushing further ahead, the Pepsi Max Crew superstar insisted the title was the furthest thing from his mind.
“It’s just good to win races, to be honest, and to sit here and you think you have it in the bag you are kidding yourself,” he said.
“It’s nice that we are getting results and the other guys you can’t really control but those days that the ( Craig) Lowndes, ( Jamie) Whincups or ( Fabian) Coulthards have bad days you have to maximise them and that’s what we’ve done well this year. It’s good to lead. Hopefully we can maintaina ntain it. it.”
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2014 OUTSTANDING BRAVERY MEDALLIST
FAMILY FUN: Mark Winterbottom is congratulated by his wife Renee and ( inset) son Cadel, 5, after his win at the Townsville 400 yesterday, his second for the weekend.
Plusl Fi Fitness promo girls Sharnah Case and Samantha Hall walk the Reid Park circuit yesterday and ( right) The Living End’s Chris Cheney on stage during Saturday night’s concert. MORE PHOTOS: page 10