STATS CORNER: CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR …

Paul Weel's third place at Adelaide in 2003 actually came after the race was finished. He crossed the line fourth and was elevated to third after a penalty was applied to Russell Ingall. However, it was after Ingall had stood on the podium, robbing Weel of his opportunity to spray some champagne. Photo: an1images.com / Graeme Neander.

AS part of a series of stories looking at the statistics of the ATCC/Repco Supercars Championship, the V8 Sleuth team has asked fans to submit their statistical questions for us to answer.

First up is Rob Mac, who asked via our Facebook account, ‘Who has the most starts in ATCC/Supercars without recording a victory?’

The question was prompted by Andre Heimgartner’s maiden championship race win last weekend at The Bend Motorsport Park, the NED Whisky driver breaking through in his 161st championship race start.

While that is indeed a long time to wait, other drivers have competed in more races without being able to join the list of championship race winners.

We’ve delved into our history books and the record for most race starts in the championship without a race win is held by Paul Weel.

The former PWR Racing driver started 226 championship races between 1998 and 2008, his best finish of third coming in the Sunday race in 2003 aboard the Team Brock Commodore VX.

Just one race start behind him on the list is Brad Jones. Albury’s finest started 225 races in the championship dating back to his ATCC debut in a Mitsubishi Starion in 1986 at Adelaide International Raceway, though a win eluded him – the 2001 Bathurst 1000 runner-up result he achieved with John Cleland his best ATCC/Supercars Championship race finish.

Long-time privateer – and long-time Jones adversary in AUSCAR racing on the Calder Park Thunderdome – John Faulkner is next with 220 race starts, ahead of Tony D’Alberto (212), Alex Davison (197) and Anthony Tratt (187).

Anthony Tratt heads down the inside of Marcos Ambrose at Winton, 2004. Photo: an1images.com / Graeme Neander.
With over 20 years in the Australian motorsport industry, Noonan is the head of V8 Sleuth. He’s held a range of roles including working in television with Seven and Ten, print media and public relations. With a specialty in Australian motorsport history, he’s known around racing paddocks as ’the Sleuth’ and started his motorsport media career in 1997.