After 226 races, several near-misses and plenty of doubt, Holden’s Tim Slade can call himself a Supercars race winner.
The Brad Jones Racing driver dominated Saturday’s 40-lap race at Winton Motor Raceway, ending an eight-year wait for his first victory with a start-to-finish success.
Slade, who started from pole position alongside defending champion Mark Winterbottom, ended the race over four seconds clear of the field.
Prior to Saturday’s result, Slade had finished second five times in a career that had promised much but delivered little to this point.
It was an emphatic display for a driver who admitted he had hit rock bottom following a crash at the 2014 Bathurst 1000.
“Halfway through 2014 I went through a pretty tough period,” Slade said.
“Crashing out at Bathurst … that was breaking point for me.
“It’s pretty crazy. I’ve been close so many times … to do it this way is pretty awesome.”
Slade’s win makes him the ninth race winner in just 10 races this season.
Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin finished second behind Slade, with defending champion Mark Winterbottom coming home third.
McLaughlin’s result lifts him to the top of the championship standings for the first time in his career.
It’s the first time since 1986 a Volvo driver has been top of the Supercars standings and the New Zealander is also the eight different points leader so far this season.
Holden’s Craig Lowndes, who held the series lead coming into the race, finished 15th to drop to third on the standings behind Red Bull Racing’s Jamie Whincup, who finished fifth.
The Winton SuperSprint wraps up on Sunday with a 200km race from 1.45pm AEST.