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Thread: V8 Supercars: 10 best of 2004

  1. #1
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    V8 Supercars: 10 best of 2004

    The new season is almost upon is, with 3 support races over the course of the weekend coinciding with the Australian Gran Prix in Melbourne, and the official start to the V8 Supercar season at Adelaide in a fortnight, what better a way to kick off the season than to reflect on last season.

    A judging panel of 10, organised for the 2004 V8 Supercar Yearbook has decided on 2004's 10 best drivers, based solely on their performances last year. The panel consisting of 2 drivers (Marcos Ambrose and Mark Skaife), 2 team owners (Larry Perkins and Kim Jones), 2 officials (Wayne Cattach and Tim Shenken), 2 journalists (Andrew Clarke and Paul Gover) and 2 commentators (Barry Oliver and Neil Crompton). With scores between 1 and 10 for the best driver, these were the results:

    #01 - Marcos Ambrose Total: 90, Votes: 10
    Marcos Ambrose didnt quite dominate the 2004 season; at least not to the degree he dominated voting. Five of V8 Supercar Yearbook's 10 judges believed Ambrose to be this year's top steerer. In fact, the defending champ received a massive 90 survey points (out of a possible 100), and no judge listed him lower than fourth. No surprise really, as Ambrose used his trademark controlled aggression to pull off some stunning moves, most memorably on Mark Skaife at Darwin. The Tasmanian scored four crushing round wins and only onces (Wintons off-road driving expedition) finished a round outside the top 10.

    #02 - Craig Lowndes Total: 73, Votes: 10
    It's remarkable that a man who spent most of 2004 sitting outside the championship's top 20 could poll as the year's number two driver! Three panelists even voted Craig Lowndes top of the pops. His year was spent overcoming inferior equipment - at least until Bathurst. And it was on the Mountain, and at a soggy Eastern Creek in April, that Lowndes' genius really shone through, posting season high second placings. Once FPR found car speed and engine reliability Lowndes was competitive. But throughout, his skill was never doubted, especially not by Triple Eight, which poached him for 2005.

    #03 - Greg Murphy Total: 65, Votes: 9
    It's often said, a shocker of a year can be turned around with a bathurst win. Greg Murphy's season was far from a disaster, but it will be remembered for a fourth Bathurst. Still, Murphy remained a championship contender until the Grand Finale, and carried his faultless Bathurst form to a follow-up round win on the Gold Coast. Interestingly, no judge ranked the Kiwi as numero uno, and one didnt even consider Murphy worthy of being in the 10! Perhaps being headed on the points table by teammate Rick Kelly for much of 2004 worked against him.

    #04 - Jason Bright Total: 61, Votes 9
    Jason Bright;s year was the exact opposite of Murphy's - early success was overshadowed by a near-disastrous enduro campaign. Bright's first half season was brilliant, claiming two round wins (Pukekohe and Barbagallo) and qualifying forth or higher at every meeting, until Winton;s wild weather made the Shootout a lottery. In fact, the PWR ace made every Shootout until his miserable Surfers weekend. His season's unfortunate back end clearly affected his points tally - in both the championship and this vote. Like Murphy one panelist omitted him, and another made him top dog! Regardless, big money offers streamed in for 2005.

    #05 - Steven Richards Total: 57, Votes: 9
    Steven Richards was another diver to polarise voters, with both a number one ranking and a complete snub. The racing press dubbed Richo Jnr "The Accumulator" this year, and for good reason. Richards' championship started with round results of 2nd, 4th, 4th and 2nd, which saw he and Ambrose yoyo the series lead until the disaster of Perth. His campaign really hit the skids when his dad hit the roo at Bathurst. Hmmm, was SR's non-voter an animal lover? Not likely. A more feasible explanation is the lack of round wins - his last was Calder in 2000.

    #06 - Mark Skaife Total: 53, Votes: 8
    Mark Skaife is, by his own admission, a hard task master, Hence, he was quick to "give himself an uppercut" when he made driving errors in 2004. And there were quite a few. Oddly, his fellow panel members went easier on him, as he ranked a clear sixth, One voter placed the HRT boss second! Perhaps Spaife's reputation for minimal mistakes in years' past worked for him, or, maybe, his stunning practise and qualifying pace. Still, round wins were hard to get as he dropped more positions from qualifying to the end of the weekend than any other driver in the series. You have to go back to 1998 to find his last winless season.

    #07 - Russel Ingall Total: 32, Votes: 8
    Solid but not spectacular is the best way to summarise Ingall's season. Ditto his V8 Yearbook polling. Eight panel members listed Ingall in their top 10, but none higher than sixth. The survey's final tally had Rusty level with Rick Kelly on 32 points, but the Kmart youngster earned seventh on a countback of the most listings. The Enforcer made few errors, but lacked his teammate's outright pace. He was a model of consistency though, scoring a quintet of top four round resuslts mid-year. Ingall capped his year by taking Tasmania, albeit without winning a race.

    #08 - Rick Kelly Total: 32, Votes: 10
    Rick Kelly made very few driving errors in 2004 - and when he did, it was usually other drivers that came off worse-for-wear. Withness his derailing of Jason Bright's and Russel Ingall's championship campaigns at Surgers Paradise. Speed was never lacking and you dont win back-to-back Bathursts without a huge dollop of talent. Interestingly, Rick's best results (round wins, no less) came at Mount Panorama and April's wet Creel Race, the same places Lowndes shone. Kelly Jnr was the only Holden driver to feature in every expert's top 10, but didnt figure in the top three of any list.

    #09 - John Bowe Total: 29, Votes: 5
    Wily veteran John Bowe may not have topped any of our expert's lists, but he did feature five times - as high as second, and as low as 10th!. JB's best on-track performance was at Bathurst - as has become something of an OzEmail Racing tradition - where he finished third with team boss Brad Jones. A pair of fifths, at the Darwin and Perth rounds were indicative of a moderately successful year. And perhaps that Bowe is a good traveler! As ever, Bowe's driving reputation at year's end is sky-high. His Winton skirmish with AMbrose was the low-point.

    #10 - Todd Kelly Total: 26, Votes: 8
    it's almost poetic that the best result of Todd Kelly's largely controversy-free year was a round win at Hidden Valley. Todd, in contrast to his brother Rick, largely flew under the radar in 2004, finishing the championship an impressive (and perhaps surprising) seventh in the series standings. So it's appropriate that Todd just slipped into the V8 Supercar Yearbook's top 10. He may not have figured any higher than sixth on any judge's list, but eight of our expert's judged him worth of a possie. Season low point came with his first lap wallbanger in Adelaide.
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  2. #2
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    6 holden drivers, 4 ford. that seems pretty consistent with the top 10 results for the races throughout the year
    Faster, faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death...
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    Well the championship positions at the end of the year were 50/50, although Bargwanna and Johnson were excluded in favour of Skaife and Lowndes there. I would be interested to see Ambrose, Skaifes, Perkins and Jones scorecards though, the last 2 there both have one of their team members in the list and the first 2 have both themselves and their team mates included.
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    it'll be interesting to see how the new VZ goes for skaife and then for kelly when gets it in a few months after a bit of development
    Faster, faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death...
    Hunter Thompson

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    What a bloody joke. How can we look at these people and say they are San!.
    It's bloody so bad my goodness how can they look at people after that crap.
    "Just a matter of time i suppose"

    "The elevator is broke, So why don't you test it out"

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  6. #6
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    What are you on about Slick?
    I am the Stig

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    That is the worst and most incorrect 10 i have ever seen.
    "Just a matter of time i suppose"

    "The elevator is broke, So why don't you test it out"

    "I'm not trapped in here with all of you, Your all trapped in here with me"

  8. #8
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    Whats so bad about it? I'd say its a pretty credible list considering who was on the judging panel
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  9. #9
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    If i was doing it with them 10 drivers it would be

    Ambrose.
    Bright.
    Ingall.
    R,Kelly.
    Bowe.
    Richards.
    T.Kelly
    Murphy.
    Lowndes.
    Skaife.
    "Just a matter of time i suppose"

    "The elevator is broke, So why don't you test it out"

    "I'm not trapped in here with all of you, Your all trapped in here with me"

  10. #10
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    It was 10 people voting though, and some probably shared your opinion and voted that way. But its a tallied vote, and onlt Ambrose, Lowndes and R.Kelly was agreed by everyone to be in the top 10.
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  11. #11
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    I'm not ingalls or Richards biggest fan's but they are so out of place with them.
    "Just a matter of time i suppose"

    "The elevator is broke, So why don't you test it out"

    "I'm not trapped in here with all of you, Your all trapped in here with me"

  12. #12
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    Thanks Skaifey. The evil empire finally strikes back. He actually looked convincing on Sunday. Mind you he was very lonely out there.
    "A string is approximately nine long."
    Egg Nogg 02-04-2005, 05:07 AM

  13. #13
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    Lonely but good
    Think HRT showed they have done some very good work on getting the cars on speed faster this year. And i even held back from sticking it up my Brother he just loves skaife
    "Just a matter of time i suppose"

    "The elevator is broke, So why don't you test it out"

    "I'm not trapped in here with all of you, Your all trapped in here with me"

  14. #14
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    I was most pleased to see BJR get a 1-2 in the second place. Even some Holden fans were clapping as the Bowe and Jones picked them off one by one. Though they couldn't hold on to the front runners in the final race.
    UCP's biggest Ford Sierra RS500 and BMW M3 E30 fan. My two favourite cars of all time.

  15. #15
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    The idea of a ballast system like in the BTCC suddenly looks like a good idea after seeing 2 people at 3 seconds a lap quicker start at the back of the field
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