Saturday Debrief: Newcastle 500

Published: 23 November 2019
Pye made up 18 places in Race 31.
Pye made up 18 places in Race 31.

Pictured: Pye made up 18 places in Race 31.

Scott Pye has finished sixth, and James Courtney seventh in Race 31 around the streets of Newcastle.

Pye produced one of the drives of the year, charging from 24th on the grid to sixth, thanks to raw speed and some incredible passing moves.

James Courtney topped off a solid day for the team, ensuring both cars finished inside the top-10.

For Pye, the drive was made even more remarkable after missing Practice 2 and spending Friday night in hospital after developing a bug. A crazy 24 hours to say the least.

Earlier in the day, JC advanced through to the Top 10 Shootout after setting the seventh quickest lap in qualifying, but unfortunately for Pye, he found the wall, which meant he was relegated to the back of the field.

Once the lights went out, Pye went long in his first two stints, showing great pace in clear air and passing cars when required.

JC went shorter, as most of the field did, running inside the 10 all day.

Once the final round of stops were complete, the race lit up for Pye.

He was one of the last cars to stop with 35-laps to go, popping out in 10th and going on the charge.

He closed the gap rapidly on Winterbottom before setting off after Slade. When he then had Whincup in his sights he wasted no time, producing the pass of the day at the right-hander in the staircase.

With five to go he made his way by JC, but ran out of laps to go any further up.

JC did a ripping job to hold Whincup off in the dying stages, ensuring a good result for both cars and the team.

Now attention turns to Sunday, the final race of the season, as we look to go out on a high and spray some champagne.

Scott Pye

“It’s been a big 36-hours that’s for sure, but it certainly was an enjoyable finish to it all!

“I was disappointed after qualifying, because despite only turning a handful of laps, I knew we had a car to fight up the front.

“The guys did a great job with strategy, and I had a hell of a lot of fun passing all those cars.

“A good qualifying tomorrow will mean we are in the fight for a trophy, and sending my time off here on a good note.”

James Courtney

“A good day for the team today. We got held up in the middle stint which hurt us, but still, I’ll take the seventh. The car has been good since we rolled out of the truck, so we will tune it up a bit more overnight.

“We had some good battles across the day, including with Jamie late in the race.

“Tomorrow’s going to be pretty emotional that’s for sure. It’s been a quarter of my life here, and I would like nothing more than to finish on a high, which I think we can do. Thanks to everyone for their support!”