HOW REYNOLDS STOPPED TRIPLE EIGHT FROM ACHIEVING RARE FEAT

David Reynolds led his first lap of 2021 at the NTI Townsville 500. Pic: Supplied / Kelly Grove Racing

TRIPLE Eight dominated the NTI Townsville 500 race weekend but there was one rare feat that slipped through its grasp.

David Reynolds was the last driver to make his first pit stop in Sunday’s 250-kilometre race, which resulted in him leading his first lap of the 2021 season and his first since joining Kelly Grove Racing.

That meant that Lap 32 of the Sunday race was the only one of the 175 laps run across the entire weekend that was not led by Triple Eight.

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Jamie Whincup led the most laps out of the Red Bull Ampol pair (123) despite finishing second in both races, while Shane van Gisbergen led a total of 51 laps on his way to claiming a sweep of both victories.

Van Gisbergen and Whincup led all but one racing lap at the NTI Townsville 500. Pic: Supplied / Supercars

One team leading every single lap of a Supercars race weekend is actually a rarity – it has happened just once in the last 20 years and just four times this century.

Triple Eight was the team responsible for the most recent instance of it happening.

Whincup led every single lap of the Abu Dhabi round in 2012, an event that featured three 12-lap sprint races with no pit stops.

He also set the fastest lap in all three races, but it wasn’t an entirely perfect weekend for Whincup: he missed out on pole position by 0.199-seconds to good mate Will Davison.

Whincup and Triple Eight achieved the most recent instance of one team leading every racing lap of a Supercars weekend at Abu Dhabi in 2012. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

You have to wind the clock back all the way to 2001 for the next instance of a team leading every single lap of a round.

Dick Johnson Racing and Paul Radisich completely dominated the Barbagallo round in 2001, which also featured three sprint races with no compulsory pit stops.

Not only did ‘The Rat’ lead every lap on the way to winning all three races, but he also set the fastest lap in each sprint and qualified on pole position.

Paul Radisich earnt a rare driver ‘grand slam’ at Barbagallo in 2001, taking pole, leading every lap in winning all three races and setting the fastest lap in each. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

The achievement marks the only time this century where a driver has achieved a round ‘grand slam’ in Supercars.

It was much more common for one team to dominate the lap leader tally under the sprint race format used extensively by Supercars from 1996 to 2001, which featured three short races with no pit stops and progressive grids.

For instance, the Holden Racing Team did it twice during the 2000 season and four times in 1999, a year where Jason Bargwanna also led every lap for Garry Rogers Motorsport on his way to his maiden round win at Winton.

Jason Bargwanna led every lap at Winton in 1999. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

Supercars’ current race formats, which include a variety of pit stops and tyre compounds as well as qualifying sessions for individual races, makes it harder for one team to lead every lap of a race weekend.

Consider that Scott McLaughlin, Fabian Coulthard and DJR Team Penske didn’t achieve the feat when were at the peak of their powers with the newly-introduced Ford Mustang in early 2019.

The difficulty of the task is further illustrated by Triple Eight falling short by one lap despite its utter dominance of the NTI Townsville 500 weekend.

Will Dale is V8 Sleuth's Head of Content - Digital. He began his media career as a breakfast radio newsreader before joining SPEED TV Australia and FOX SPORTS Australia in 2012 as its Digital Editorial Lead - Motorsport, covering all forms of motorsport both in Australia and internationally. He became part of the V8 Sleuth team in 2018.