V8 battle lines saw Lowndes’ life threatened
Supercars legend Craig Lowndes has revisited a dark corner of his career when a furious fan made a shocking death threat.
The Australian racing great opened up on his career ahead of his Bathurst 1000 swan song this weekend.
Lowndes is out to claim his seventh win at Mount Panorama as his glittering career behind the wheel comes to a close. The 44-year-old will go down as one of the greatest Supercars drivers to grace the sport in a career spanning three decades. But it hasn’t all been clear sailing for the smiling Victorian.
Lowndes found himself in the middle of Australia’s vicious Holden vs Ford rivalry when he controversially jumped ship.
An explosive start to his career saw Lowndes claim all three of his Supercars titles with Holden before 2000, years before his 30th birthday. But by the turn of the millennium, Lowndes’ patience with the Holden Racing Team had run out, citing “bad blood” emerging within the team.
Speaking to sportscaster Mark Howard, Lowndes detailed his topsy turvy career in a tell-all interview.
“I went in there and sat with Peter (Brock) and asked what to expect. He said I wouldn’t lose anything (swapping teams),” he said.
Brock told Lowndes half of Holden fans would stay loyal, while half of Ford wouldn’t accept him.
“I would just smile and wave. I’m a person who really doesn’t like confrontation.”
That was until one spectator took the abuse to an extreme.
The three-time champion revealed why he kept his security guard, Darryl Reid, so close to his side.
“There was a big tall gentleman who would travel with us, about six foot six, his name is Darryl Reid. He was employed to look after me if any psychos wanted to put a knife in me,” he said.
“Because we are so close to the fans, it could happen. If someone had a gripe or a vendetta on anyone (they had easy access).”
Lowndes said it got to a point where fellow motor racing legend Mark Skaife called him, saying he had received a message saying: “Mark Skaife, I’m going to kill you and Craig.”
“I was in Ford-land at that time. The police eventually tracked his phone calls and arrested him, he served time in jail for it. But it was oblivious to me until Skaife told me the full story,” Lowndes said.
“Then Skaife was walking back to his car at Queensland Raceway, having a chat with a guy until he said ‘I’m the guy you put away in jail’. So he actually came and confronted Skaife, and he wasn’t happy. Nothing (came) of it after that, but there was definitely that opportunity.”
Lowndes enjoyed years of success with Ford before his team at the time, Team Vodafone, switched back to Holden in 2010. He currently races for Triple Eight Race Engineering.
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Craig Lowndes, who is winding up his fulltime Supercars career this weekend, has shared a dark incident from his past.