Dozy wildcard rookie costs Winterbottom dearly
TEENAGE Supercars wildcard Jack Smith has been savaged after a debut drive that has cost Mark Winterbottom the chance for a podium.
Winterbottom had looked set for a first podium finish of his Holden career, heading home behind the DJR Team Penske one-two punch of Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard in Tasmania.
That was until Smith, a Brad Jones Racing wildcard entry, forgot to yield to Winterbottom in the dying stages of Saturday afternoon's race at Symmons Plains.
Ordered to stand aside by officials, Smith finally did so but the delay allowed Shane van Gisbergen, with fresh tyres, to make up ground and pass Winterbottom shortly after.
After claiming a breakthrough pole position earlier on Saturday for his new team Irwin Racing, Winterbottom was plainly distraught at not delivering another prize to his underdog team.
"I wanted to give the guys a trophy," he said.
"I'm frustrated with a car that's not in the championship that cost you a chance at the podium.
"I tried to defend (van Gisbergen) but I didn't have enough tyre grip.
"We'll have a bit of teary moment at not getting the trophy and come back again tomorrow."
McLaughlin agreed Smith was in the wrong.
"It's something he's got to learn," he said.
" He's going to have a few angry people on his tow."
Van Gisbergen sympathised with Winterbottom but was never going to let go of a chance to make ground in the championship.
"I did feel like a burglar on the end lap but it's good for us," he said.
"A Kiwi one-two-three - that's good."
Winterbottom could at least be thankful for his pole position, his first in exactly 1000 days and a first for Irwin Racing.
"I'm a bit emotional. It's been a while. I'm really pumped," he said after qualifying.
"When you do things like this, you can see the emotion that it brings.
"It's a special day, a really special day, and I'm proud to be a part of it."