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The points battles to watch in Adelaide

THE major titles are all squared away heading into the VALO Adelaide 500, but plenty of teams and drivers will have their eyes on the points standings this weekend.

Here’s a quick rundown on what’s still at play.

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The top driver at Dick Johnson Racing

Bragging rights are on the line in Stapylton with just 22 points currently separating Will Davison and Anton De Pasquale in the championship standings.

The pair are currently sitting in fourth and fifth places in points, but Chaz Mostert’s third place is also mathematically in reach for both drivers.

Davison is just 118 points behind the WAU driver, while De Pasquale is 140 points behind Mostert.

Should Davison finish ahead of De Pasquale, it would give him a 2-0 record against the young charger in their two seasons together at DJR.

Brodie Kostecki heads a train of eight drivers chasing a top 10 finish in points for 2022. Pic: Tayler Burke

A spot in the Top 10

With all the top positions in the championship standings largely decided, the tastiest battle is at the other end of the top 10.

Brodie Kostecki, currently eighth in the standings, is the last driver that is relatively safe inside the championship’s top 10. The Erebus driver needs to finish 19th or better in either of the races to secure his spot.

Behind him is a group of eight drivers who are still mathematically in play for the final two spots.

A total of 299 points covers eight drivers, from Mark Winterbottom in ninth place to Nick Percat in 16th, with a maximum haul of 300 up for grabs this weekend.

Winterbottom and Andre Heimgartner currently hold the last two spots inside the top 10, with Tim Slade just four points behind the Brad Jones Racing driver in 11th.

Slade making it into the ‘10’ would hold a special significance with the Blanchard Racing Team being the only single-car entry in the field.

TEKNO Autosports was the last one-car squad to crack the top 10 in points, achieving top-five points finishes from 2014 to 2016 with Shane van Gisbergen and Will Davison.

Prior to that, the last top-10 points finish for a truly independent single-car team – which built its own cars and didn’t have a technical alliance with a bigger team – was posted by Steve Ellery in 2001.

READ MORE: Slade’s dream for BRT send-off

Will Brown is a further 105 points adrift in 12th place, although Lee Holdsworth is just one point back in 13th and James Courtney a further seven points behind in 14th.

Scott Pye (15th, 116 points behind Courtney) and Nick Percat (16th, 13 points behind Pye) are longshots at cracking the ‘10’ and would need disasters to befall a couple of the drivers ahead of them, but history has proven that anything can happen in Adelaide.

Shane van Gisbergen could break a 20-year-old record at the Adelaide 500. Pic: Tayler Burke

A new record margin of victory

Shane van Gisbergen could set another new record on the weekend that he will be officially crowned as the 2022 Repco Supercars Champion.

The record for the largest championship-winning points margin is within the Kiwi’s grasp.

Mark Skaife currently holds the record for the largest margin; he won the 2002 championship by 658 points over Greg Murphy.

Van Gisbergen enters the Adelaide weekend on 3382 points with second-placed Cam Waters on 2722, for a margin of 660 points.

While Skaife’s record is within reach, the record for the most dominant championship win will remain the domain of Peter Brock.

The ‘King of the Mountain’ earnt his first Australian Touring Car Championship title in 1974 with a total of 80 points. Bob Morris was next best with 46 points, or just under 58% of Brock’s total.

For comparison, given the different point scales used in 1974 and 2022, that is the equivalent of Waters entering Adelaide with just 1944 points and a deficit to SVG of 1438 points!

This year’s Teams Championship standings will dictate pit lane order for 2023. Pic: Tayler Burke

Garage positions for 2023 on the line

Each team’s position in the pit lane is dictated by the Dunlop Teams Championship standings of the previous season.

Although Triple Eight has locked up the title for 2022 and DJR is mathematically secure in second place, several other spots are still in play.

Third place is currently held by Tickford’s pairing of Cam Waters and James Courtney, 331 points ahead of Walkinshaw Andretti United.

It’s a large deficit for WAU to try and make up (the maximum haul available for the weekend is 576 points) but not impossible, and an opportunity to move up to the third set of garages in pit lane next year – and pipping what will next year be a fellow Ford team – will surely be in the back of their minds this weekend.

Grove Racing and Erebus Motorsport are in a much closer battle over fifth in the standings with just 70 points separating the Penrite and Boost-backed squads.

The winner of this showdown will actually secure the sixth set of garages in pit lane, given all four of Tickford’s cars will line up in adjoining garages based on where its highest-placed pair finish.

Erebus currently resides in those garages; even if Grove Racing fails to pip the Holden squad, it will still be moving a fair way up the lane from its position in the 10th pair of garages this year.

Team 18 is also within mathematical range of the Grove team (411 points) but are facing a greater challenge from Brad Jones Racing, which is 153 points behind them.

The other battle is between Supercars’ newest squads with just 201 points separating Matt Stone Racing and PremiAir Racing in the pursuit of the 11th pair of garages.

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