It was another fun and entertaining night of Supercars eSeries competition at the Circuit of the Americas, and as with the first five rounds, there were plenty of talking points arising from the evening.
Luck finally on De Pasquale’s side
Last week, we pointed out the rotten luck that had affected Anton De Pasquale’s season, especially in the reverse-grid races where he had become something of a punching bag for wayward drivers.
De Pasquale finally enjoyed a dose of fortune last night; while he narrowly missed out on pole position to a scorching Shane Van Gisbergen and settled for second in Race 1, De Pasquale scythed his way through the field in the reverse-grid race, steering clear of the opening lap carnage and then making up places with pure speed. He was rewarded with fifth place, which was enough for him to start on pole for the final.
Even despite a last-lap lunge from SVG, which resulted in contact and a spin, De Pasquale was far enough ahead of the rest of the field that he was still able to recover and win.
SVG closes on points lead
Shane Van Gisbergen enjoyed a very solid night with first, seventh and second in the three races. His heads-up decision to redress the lead to De Pasquale on the final lap of Race 3 ensured he avoided a penalty, and enabled him to bank another impressive points haul.
Conversely, Scott McLaughlin had top-three pace but for the second round in a row, he was the victim of reverse-grid damage; he came home a lowly 18th in Race 2 and surrendered valuable points to his rivals.
Fourth in Race 3 wasn’t a bad recovery for the Shell V-Power driver’s evening, but it could have been better if he hadn’t been nerfed by Lando Norris in the first corner (see below).
The net result is that McLaughlin’s lead has been reduced to 56 points with Van Gisbergen moving up to second in the standings.
Norris grabs the attention but Power quietly impresses
Lando Norris may have won a race and earned the admiration of Aussie fans with his “yeah-nah” interview responses, but we’re nominating Will Power as the best wildcard driver this round.
While Norris was fast, he earned the ire of officialdom when he clouted championship contender Cameron Waters in Race 1, and his Race 2 victory largely came off the back of an elevated starting position for the inverted-grid affair. He made contact with McLaughlin at the start of Race 3 as well, which could have proven catastrophic had he not straightened up McLaughlin’s Mustang by hitting it a second time.
On the other hand, Power was quietly impressive; he stayed out of trouble, demonstrated decent pace and was rewarded with top five finishes in Races 1 and 3.
Of the other wildcards, Austin Cindric had a quiet evening, Craig Lowndes didn’t threaten the front-runners but clearly enjoyed himself, and Garth Tander was an innocent victim in several incidents. As for Josh Fife, his night will unfortunately be remembered for a weird rollover when he clipped the kerb at Turn 1.
Neil Crompton quote of the night
“The crashes are bigger in Texas!”