It did not go to script however Craig Lowndes nonetheless loved a Supercars farewell to keep in mind at Newcastle.
The trademark grin returned for the 44-year-old after a irritating Saturday, ending 11th within the ultimate race of his 22-year profession as a full-time driver.
He positioned fourth general within the 2018 championship.
Nevertheless the seven-time Bathurst champion will look again on his final hurrah fondly after receiving a touching pre-race tribute on Sunday.
Forward of his 667th race, Lowndes was given a lap of honour earlier than the grateful Supercars trustworthy across the 2.6km road circuit after which a stroll down pit-lane the place each staff got here out to congratulate him.
Arguably the three-time collection champion’s greatest second got here when he briefly led Sunday’s race after lap 55 earlier than being reeled in by the sector.
Lowndes was even allowed a post-race burnout, a luxurious often solely handed the winner.
“It was emotional. The lead-in to the race was actually particular, one thing I will keep in mind and cherish for a very long time,” Lowndes stated.
“To complete fourth within the championship is actual credit score to the staff.
“It confirmed we will nonetheless battle it with the very best and I am actually trying ahead to closing this chapter off now – 2019 might be a giant yr in plenty of methods.”
Lowndes will return subsequent yr as a co-driver within the three endurance rounds whereas juggling media commitments.
Lowndes hoped to have registered one win on Sunday after his spectacular burnout in entrance of the appreciative Newcastle followers rivalled that of recent championship winner Scott McLaughlin.
Ford’s McLaughlin claimed his maiden title by ending second behind race winner, Holden’s David Reynolds.
“Congratulations to Scotty, they did a terrific job. I needed to do an even bigger burnout than Scotty, so hopefully that got here true,” Lowndes laughed.
“The rear tyres want a guaranty job but it surely’s good to blow off a little bit of steam after a protracted day – it has been a hell of a weekend.”
The return of Lowndes’ beaming smile was in stark distinction to Saturday.
He confirmed he was human, surprising many along with his foul-mouthed response to a pit-lane conflict with Holden’s Scott Pye through the opening race.
Ford’s Mark Winterbottom then hit a tyre about to be fitted to Lowndes’ Commodore and dragged it down pit-lane amid a frenetic security automobile scramble.
After that it was no extra Mr Good Man for Lowndes, who was proven by TV cameras screaming expletives and punching his steering wheel earlier than storming into the storage.
He recovered to get again on the observe however completed final.