Scott McLaughlin, still hurting from throwing away the 2017 title in the last race of the year, will be pushing hard to put a gap between himself and the rest of pack at Winton this weekend.
McLaughlin wants to avoid a repeat of arriving at the last race of the year with only a small buffer of points and the huge pressure that comes with a do-or-die scenario.
But he’s going to have to fight off series intimidator, Shane van Gisbergen, and 2018 hard-charger David Reynolds, who sit second and third, only a handful of points behind McLaughlin.
Reynolds is enjoying his best start to Supercars championship season with a win, three podiums and a total of nine top 10 finishes from 12 races.
He finished second in Perth two weeks ago.
A key to Reynolds’ success has been the team’s ability to bounce back from a bad start to a race weekend and tune the car to find front running speed by Sunday.
“Yeah, the Erebus guys and girls have been doing amazing things” Reynolds said.
“It’s not easy to find huge improvements on a race weekend, in fact it’s dam hard, but these guys have been doing it all year which has helped heaps.”
Reynolds went from 17th on the grid on Saturday in Perth to sixth on Sunday which put him in contention.
“I thought I had the better of McLaughlin after our last pit stop,” he said.
“We came out second and he was about five seconds down the road.
“I got the gap to two seconds but couldn’t get to him.
“But again, it’s just so good to bounce back after a bad start to the weekend and come away with some good points.”
But all eyes will be on series leader McLaughlin who has won the last four races.
“We started from 17th on Sunday in Perth, but it’s like a footy team that’s 60 points down at half-time,” he said.
Coming into Winton, McLaughlin knows what he has do.
“I’m just trying to get as many points as I can and winning races is the best way to achieve it,” he said.
“My aim is to avoid it coming down to the wire in the last race.”