Craig Lowndes is V8 Supercar royalty, but it has been a while since he has sat on the throne at the end of a season
The last time Lowndes was V8 series champion, John Howard was Prime Minister, Lou Bega edged out Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time on the Aria Charts and there was no such thing as Twitter.
It was 1999 and the-then 25-year-old had just collected his third championship in four years, driving for the Holden Racing Team. In 2013, now 39, Lowndes finds himself in a familiar position.
“We’ve got two rounds or four races to go but for the first time in 14 years I’ve been leading a championship so close to the end of the season,” Lowndes said.
He has been runner-up to his teammate Jamie Whincup for the past two years.
Lowndes leads Whincup by just six points heading into the final rounds at Phillip Island and Homebush, but says it is more than just a two-way battle.
Despite the addition of Mercedes and Nissan to the V8 Supercar paddock this year, the series will still come down to an old fashioned Ford-verse-Holden battle with Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison from Ford Performance Racing (FPR) in the championship mix.
“We’ve just got to try and step our side of it up a bit for these last four races because we are not only just going to have a battle between Jamie and I but we are going to have a battle between FPR and us,” Lowndes said.
“I think we’ll focus on trying to out-do FPR first and then see where we end up.
“Everyone wants to finish the season on a high and if you aren’t in contention for the championship you definitely want to be the winner of the last race at Homebush.
“There is always a bit of biff and barge and everything else and of course you’ve got Russell Ingall who is retiring at the end of the year and has always said he wants to get back on a few people before he retires so it will be interesting to see what happens.”
Despite the close competition between himself and Whincup, Lowndes says things are still jovial in the Triple Eight team camp.
“It’s still friendly; the last two years we’ve been lucky enough to be one-two in the championship, but two years ago there was only 30 points between us going into the last race so there was a bit of tension in the camp back then.
“But I think we’ve probably got better at managing that.
“Really it just comes down to at the end of the day who gets the best out of yourself and the car and at the moment Jamie is out-qualifying me but we seem to get him through the races.
“I think that really the fans just want to see a good clean race and a good battle to the finish and hopefully the best man wins.”
If Lowndes wins the Championship, he would join Allan Moffat, Bob Jane, Jim Richards and Whincup who also have four V8 titles to their name.