LOVE him or loathe him, Russell Ingall’s return to Supercars as a wildcard for the 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000 is a big win for the category.
During a near 20-year full-time V8 career Ingall played the role of pantomime villain, frequently living up to the ‘Enforcer’ nickname applied by the press during his early seasons.
Whether he was on the Holden or Ford side of the fence he remained a ‘box office’ hit and the type of character that many believe is missing in the current field.
While Supercars undoubtedly benefited from his ‘black hat’ approach, there were plenty of times where the CAMS judiciary had to step in and sanction Ingall for on-track incidents and off-track sprays.
This is by no means an attempt at a comprehensive list as there are far too many to mention, but here are five of Ingall’s biggest fines that totalled a whopping $46,130!
2000 SCS Round 7, Queensland Raceway – $10,000
This famous incident started when Ingall was baulked on the final lap of Race 1 by lapped runner Mike Imrie, which resulted in the Castrol Commodore losing third place to Mark Larkham at the last corner.
Ingall then turned into the left side of Imrie’s Commodore as they passed the chequered flag on the front straight, the contact spinning the latter into the pit wall.
Although Ingall insisted he had driven next to Imrie to simply give a “royal salute” and that the contact was unintentional, stewards saw differently and docked Ingall $10,000 and 20 championship points.
It could have been far more costly for the Castrol Perkins team though, as team boss Larry Perkins only narrowly avoided slamming into the stranded Imrie after the finish line…
2000 SCS Round 13, Bathurst – $6,130
The 2000 season ended with another major controversy as Ingall used the post-qualifying press conference at Bathurst to slam slower runners that he believed cost him provisional pole.
“We seem to have a lot of drivers out there from Planet Mork,” Ingall fumed, referring to privateer racer Richard Mork.
“There are so many wankers and dickheads out there I can’t believe it; there is a servo owner and a fruit shop owner and they are out there running with the rest of us.”
The tirade earnt the team a $10,000 fine for comments deemed prejudicial to motorsport, which was later dropped on appeal, while Ingall copped a separate sanction of $4,000 plus $2,130 in costs.
2003 V8SC Round 13, Eastern Creek – $10,000
V8 Supercars scraps don’t come much more high-profile than Ingall’s dust-up with Mark Skaife in the 2003 title decider at Eastern Creek, but what’s often forgotten is the seriousness of the sanctions handed down.
Ingall was docked 70 points for his role in contact that spun Skaife into the wall, and was also found guilty of bringing the sport into disrepute for swerving at his now on-foot rival the following lap.
That came with a $15,000 fine, later reduced to $10,000 on appeal, plus exclusion from the meeting (which included the deduction of all points earned) and a three-race ban, suspended for 12 months.
For the record, Skaife copped a 30-point hit for the contact, a decision later overturned on appeal, while a three-pronged penalty for a disrepute charge ($10,000 fine, 75 points and three-race suspended ban) stood.
2008 V8SC Round 4, Barbagallo – $5,000
By 2008 Ingall had moved on to Paul Morris Motorsport and, paired with the ‘Dirty Dangerous Dude’ himself, they made for a fearsome duo.
In Race 2 of Round 4 at Barbagallo Ingall served a drive-through penalty for pit lane speeding and returned to the track ahead of leader Jamie Whincup.
When Whincup nudged Ingall wide at Turn 5 the Supercheap Auto Commodore driver responded by turning hard right into the TeamVodafone Ford as it went by.
Although the contact broke Ingall’s steering and Whincup charged on unhindered, stewards took a dim view of the act and fined the Holden veteran $5,000 for careless driving.
2014 V8SC Round 3, Winton – $15,000
Ingall’s hopes of scoring Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport a maiden podium during the Winton round of his single season with the team were dashed by a penalty for early-race contact with David Wall.
Speaking on the television coverage post-race, Ingall launched a stunning tirade at race officials, blasting the nature of the in-race decision as a case of “dopey rules made by dopey idiots”.
“It’s alright for these peanuts to sit up in that ivory tower of theirs and just hand out punishments like that,” he said in part.
“I’d like to drag those guys down and take them over to all of those spectators over there and see (what they think about it). They’d kick the s*** out of them.”
That resulted in a $15,000 for bringing the sport into disrepute, $10,000 of which was suspended until the end of 2014.