(edited to fix typos; can't watch typing and watch screen at the same time!)
I've been a huge fan of both since 1996 when they won this race together. Lowndes has been having his most successful year in a long time, but Murph has taken pole for the first time since 2003. Decision made - to cheer for both.
Murph's pole a result of the rain that interrupted the Top Ten Shootout yesterday, preventing Whincup, Tander and Winterbottom from setting a flying lap time. People are forgetting that Murph would have been no further back than fourth if it wasn't for the rain anyway. Haters gonna hate.
Van Gisbergen thinks he's a koala; he really needs to lay off the gum leaves.
People keep texting me. Stop texting me! I'm watching the same telecast as you. I know that Cameron Waters is now up to 27th spot. Coulthard is in the garage and Caruso pitted for a driver change.
Lap 30 and there's already a 28 second margin between first and tenth. Safety car would address that pretty quickly.
Cameron Waters, after stuffing it into the wall at Forrest Elbow - "I went well up until then I guess!"
If dirinking Mother will get me a tricked-up Ford Capri, I'm there.
Youlden, playing in the sandpit, triggers a second safety car, and Perkins has hit something, somewhere. Oh Ingall, why you have such bad luck? Who you kill? And then David Brabham takes exception to the rear of your car.
Whincup has a magnet in his car, to trap a loose socket that was bouncing around. I'm having polariser flashbacks.
Murph back to ninth, while the Lowndes/Skaife combo is in second place.
Ritter's just dug himself into the litter at Murray's, resulting in another safety car, Great timing for the teams who were planning a pit stop anyway. I get anxious enough when the Vodafone cars are stacked in pit lane, I can't imagiine how nerve-wracking it wwould be for the stacked driver.
It's now midday in Qld, 1pm in NSW. Anyone else remember when the telecast took a break for lunch?
Lowndes now has Van Gisbergen in his sights. After The Giz's comments about Lowndes at Phillip Island last month I think I'm justified in having a bad feeling about this. And it looks like we'll have rain across the top of the mountain at any minute now. Bathurst weather is so changeable, which adds to the fun. There are so many variables that can affect the result of this event.
Whew. Lowndes is past safely.
I love the Telstra ads. What a shame they're such a crap service provider. Optus isn't much better, except that their services are slightly better value for money than Telstra's. So if they're both diabolical to deal with, may as well go wtih the less expensive option.
Wind is now coming from the west. I think that's a good thing; from memory, the westerlies brought the cold (and the heat in summer) but rarely the rain. That used to come mainly from the south. Oops, typed too soon, there are spots of rain appearing on the car's windshields.
Murph's catching Dumbrell; pulled over a second off the gap between them over the last lap or so. Of course "catching" doesn't equal "passing", but you've gotta be within sniff if you want a chance to get by. He's also gaining time on the leader so his car still has the speed to do the job.
And Murph's around Dumbrell! All of a sudden he's caught and passed him to take 7th. Lap 81, just past the halfway mark.
"Apocalypse Now" moment with the helicopter coming up over the hill behind the cars. Wonder how much you'd have to pay him to take some of the drivers out.... :-)
Lowndes has second. Just pinching a brake going into the Chase but doing it cleanly on Tander. Meanwhile teammate and race leader Whincup apparently has an alternator problem although he's still out in front.
Shit shit shit this is so unfair; after all his hard work to get back up to second, Craig's car has been stacked in the pits again waiting for Whincup to get back out onto the track. He can't be happy about that. Love to hear the team conversation in the pits. Craig is still managing to smile about it, though, in the interview. I don't think I've ever seen him lose his good humour in public.
And.... here comes the drizzle, at the top of the mountain. Lap 91 and the leaders have their wipers going. Co-drovers in the cars at presnt, after the last round of pit stops. Car 888 has been given a warning for driving too slowly into pit lane on that occasion; can't blame him, really knowing he's going to have to queue. He wouldn't want to sit there any longer than necessary..
Looks like Whincup set up his rear view mirror to keep an eye on himself. It's annoying his co-driver though.
Westpac, please stop advertising. I really, reallly don't want to think about work on my days off.
Cameron Waters is back out on the track. Hope he can hold it togeether till the end. Murphy's back to 18th after the safety car - what happened there? He was 14th before the ad break. Now a safety car due to an ill marshall; they need to get the medical car up to the top of the mountain. Wow. Who else remembers the race going on around flatbed trucks etc out on the circuit.
Time for my lunch, while the safety car is on the track. Considered having a cold hot dog and a warm coke, so I could pretend I was at the circuit. Went for Doritos and dip instead. (What? It's Bathurst. I'm allowed to eat junk).
Holy crap what happened to car 17? Driver okay, but fuel on fire all over the road. What did he do? Bits of car everwhere too and of course now we have another safety car. Dick Johnson was looking morose enough prior to that. Son Steven is nearly speechless. The track is a mess now, with extinguisher foam everywhere as well as the pieces of metal strewn about.
Oh bad timing. Preview of tonight's news - top story was a young man badly burnt after throwing fuel on a bonfire. Followed by an ad for "Australia's Biggest Dipstick" featuring a young man throwing fuel onto a bonfire. What were they thinking? Pretty unfortunate coincidence there.
David Besnard now saying he wasn't told to pump the brakes after the pad change. How long has he been driving V8s? Didn't he know to do that? I guess the drivers get used to being told everything they need to do, but what do they do if their radios go down and they have to rely on their own resources and knowledge? It's not up on youtube yet but I reckon it will be before the end of the race.
How many times over the years have Ingall and Murphy ended up racing each other? They're at it again, only .2 of a second apart.
Obligatory kangaroo-at-the-track picture. I didn't know there was a specific kangaroo warning flag.
Lowndes 7th, Murphy 8th at the start of lap 130, with a fair bit of clear air between them.
God that Fujitsu ad is so stupid. If the tv-watching bloke is so hot that he needs to sit in a kiddie's wading pool in his loungeroom, he wouldn't be sitting in direct sunlight. Likewise the Coates Hire ad where the idiot is trying to polish his floor without moving the furniture first. I don't think you can actually hire a reasoning brain from Coates though. Bring on the day when the Super Cheap Auto 1000 is available on ad-free internet download. I can feel my IQ points dropping with every ad.
Holy fuck Whincup's run out of fuel? I can't believe that! How does that even happen? will he make it back to the pits? Oh, they're saying it could be the battery, due to the earlier alternator problem. Oh jesus it's come to a stop halfway up the mountain, and will trigger another safety car. Hang on, he's got it going again but it sounds dreadful. He's being told to stay in front of the cars that are still racing - hodling up the entire field! If ever anyone deserved a black flag for bad sportsmanship, that's it right there. Yellow flag or otherwise. They could get the safety car off the track now, as the 88 car is at least moving under its own power.
Okay, Whincup's made it back to the pits and they're installing a new battery. That's his race run, though. Meanwhile it's left Murphy in second spot, Ingall in fourth. Lowndes I think is seventh. It will be a 21-lap sprint race from this point. Dumbrell still seems to be leaking something over the track, could see it at turn 2. But not oil, surely? There's oll dumped in the Chase, and at Forrest Elbow. Drivers have been warned but Dumbrell was caught out. Is it from Rick Kelly? He seems to be the main suspect and has been given a mechanical black flag.
James Moffat into the garage. That's a shame, he was running a good solid race, living up to the illustrious surname.
Oh-oh. Murph second, Lowndes third, not much between them. Lowndes has the quicker car and there's still enough laps left for a position change. I predict that the back of Murph's car is about to get impossibly wide. Oh, spoke too soon - came back from an ad break to find Lowndes had gone by, and cleanly. Tander now has a five-second gap over Lowndes, with 12 and a half laps to go. They've been racing for over six hours now and I reckon the top-runners can scent the podium.
Three point seven second gap with eight laps to go.
Three seconds dead with seven remaining.
Two point three seconds six to go, my poor heart can't take this. Lucky I don't have fingernails otherwise I'd have chewed them off. Craig's coming up to lapped traffic through the esses - now past safely and onto Conrod for the 156th time.
One point seven seconds, four laps left. Catching Tander is one thing; passing him is something else entirely.
One point two seconds. If they go to an ad break now I swear I'll scream and throw things.
Point six seven of a second. Two laps. Lowndes has been told to choose his position wisely; he needs to make it a clean overtake. tander's getting a bit sloppy buthe's a professional; he won't give this away. Craig will have to earn it.
Last lap, and Craig is breathing Tander's exhaust. He's looking for it, and tander's blocking every opening.
And Tander holds on for the win, with Lowndes second and Murphy third.
Whew. My heart is still beating so fast. Lowndes' must be leaping out of his chest.
Damn. Next year's a leap year. 365 days to go.