Volvo ace Scotty McLaughlin was left to ponder what might have been after being spun out of the lead of Race 24 at the Coates Hire Ipswich 400 by Norton Hornet Michael Caruso.
Instead of staying in the fight for his second V8 Supercars championship race win of 2014, he ended up 19th after the controversial incident at Queensland Raceway’s turn 6 on lap 22, which opened the way for the Red Bull duo of Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes to score their second consecutive 1-2.
The two factory Holden Commodores had been closing on the battling Volvo S60 and Nissan Altima before the spin, but McLaughlin said it would have been one thing to have been caught, another to have been passed.
“Oh I knew they were coming but I was going to try and hold them off,” declared McLaughlin, who has won one V8 Supercars Championship race in 2014 and whose battles with both Red Bull drivers have been a feature of this year’s Championship.
“At the end of the day I knew I had a big gap behind … so stuff it, I was going to a have a big go to try and win it, I wasn’t going to just let them through.
“Mate, we were trying to win a race.”
While McLaughlin understandably admitted he was “pissed off” off by the incident, his reaction publicly to Caruso’s passing attempt was surprisingly considered and even-tempered.
In part that was driven by the friendship the two drivers had, which included Caruso attending McLaughlin’s recent 21st birthday party.
“He had to have a go, I don’t blame the guy for having a go, it’s just one of those things,” he said. “I had to make the turn, I had to turn in. it was just racing and I would have had a go in second place and we all make mistakes.
“I am pissed off, but at the end of the day everyone makes mistakes. You move on, we have got tomorrow and you enjoy it.
“I am good mates with Michael, it makes it a bit awkward, but we will work it out, we are men. Well, I have just turned into a man so all good.”
As reported here Caruso came to the Volvo pit and apologised to McLaughlin immediately after the race and McLaughlin made a later visit to the Nissan transporter for another discussion.