We’ve all seen it, the Newcastle 500… It was a rollercoaster of emotions and we were all riding it.
Yet, in the thick of it, taking the full brunt was Jamie “J-Dub” Whincup’s race engineer, David Cauchi.
In one ear he’s got J-Dub, who is racing for his seventh championship, banking on his every word, and in front of him he’s watching the only person standing in the way of that campaign, charging ahead full steam.
The only thing Cauchi needed to be was cool, calm and collected and that was exactly what he was from start to finish.
The plan was simple; get Jamie to P1 and hope that the Racing Gods would make the Red Bull Holden Racing Team stars align to keep Scott McLaughlin 12th or lower.
“We were thinking, if we win the race we can walk away saying we did our best no matter what happens,” Cauchi said.
“We have seen all year that our race pace has been good and Shane was in P2 at the start of the race, so we wanted to put pressure on them and see if we could get in front.”
Good plan… But how do you compose yourself so much so that the plan actually goes to plan?
“I just focused on making sure we got to P1 and stayed there. We couldn’t afford to make any mistakes so we just had to focus on ourselves and let the rest play out.
“I didn’t want to tell Jamie where car 17 was. I just told him laps to go and gaps to the car behind, which is normal.
“I was looking at where he was on the timing screen but tried not to let it distract me from looking after car 88.”
When J-Dub crossed the line no one knew the result of the McLaughlin-Lowndes investigation but the first one to hear it from race control was Cauchi.
The cool, calm and collected Cauchi had long gone.
“When we walked out to the pit lane wall we didn’t know what was happening with car 17, he didn’t have a penalty at that stage,” he said.
“J-Dub crossed the line and thanked the team and assumed we had run second in the championship. As he finished talking I heard the penalty come over race control and I knew that meant we had won.
“I started screaming and cheering. By the time I got on the radio my voice didn’t work, I had to stop and try again.
“J-Dub was a bit confused for a while but said he heard the cheering so figured that was a good thing.”
What we know for sure is that it was a race well deserved for the team behind car 88 and a much needed break is in store.
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