Feeney and Whincup break records with Sandown 500 victory
Feeney took over the driving duties from Supercars great Whincup with the race lead and held on in a tense finish - holding off Championship leader Brodie Kostecki who finished second and fellow Red Bull ace Shane van Gisbergen, who started 19th and finished third.
Feeney becomes the youngest ever Sandown 500 winner and youngest winner of a championship race at Sandown.
Whincup's win was his 5th Sandown 500 victory and his third straight Sandown 500 title (won last two run in 2018 and 2019).
A late bp Ultimate Safety Car period brought about trademark excitement for the fans who packed the historic Victorian venue, as Kostecki lunged to take the lead from Feeney late but couldn't find a way past the #88 Chevrolet.
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Van Gisbergen claimed the final spot on the podium in the dying laps when Kostecki's teammate Will Brown went wide, opening the door for the defending Supercars Champion to claim valuable Championship points.
While there was excitement at the front, it was a nightmare race for Ford stars Cam Waters, Chaz Mostert and David Reynolds, whose afternoons were undone by early-race damage incurred when their co-drivers were behind the wheel.
Reynolds didn’t get to turn a lap when Garth Tander crashed out after a wheel parted company with the #26 Penrite Mustang. The wheel hit Waters’ #6 Monster Energy Ford when James Moffat was behind the wheel, shearing the rear wing off the Tickford Racing entry.
Mostert’s #25 Mobil 1 Optus Ford also suffered early damage with Lee Holdsworth at the helm, before Mostert was penalised over a late clash with Declan Fraser/Tyler Everingham (#56 TRADIE Mustang).
Mostert/Holdsworth were classified 19th and Waters/Moffat 21st, with Reynolds/Tander joining Hill/Jaylyn Robotham as the only retirements of the race.
Gold Coast's Feeney, aged 20, clung on to win by 0.9816s in the end to deliver the 250th Supercars victory for Triple Eight, which debuted at Sandown all the way back in 2003. It was Feeney’s first Sandown 500 win, and Whincup’s sixth.
Andre Heimgartner/Dale Wood (#8 R&J Batteries Camaro) made it a Camaro top five ahead of Matt Payne/Kevin Estre (#19 Penrite Mustang) and Shell V-Power Racing Team teammates Will Davison/Alex Davison (#17 Mustang) and Anton De Pasquale/Tony D’Alberto (#11 Mustang). Tim Slade/Jonathon Webb (#23 Nulon Camaro) and Craig Lowndes/Zane Goddard (#88 Supercheap Auto Camaro) rounded out the top 10.
Kostecki will carry an extended 155-point lead over van Gisbergen to Bathurst, with Feeney 204 points back in third. Brown is now 294 points behind his teammate, with Triple Eight slashing Erebus' teams' championship lead to 65 points.
The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will continue at with the 60th anniversary running of the Repco Bathurst 1000 on October 5-8.