Lowndes: Let’s set the record straight

The old Supercars rumour mill, it spins faster than a Gravitron and makes you want to eject your lunch just as much.

Naturally, it has hit overdrive in the wake of Craig Lowndes’ announcement in Townsville that he’ll be retiring from full-time driving at the end of the 2018 season. Despite our reassurances that Old Mate will be hanging around to pester the Triple Eight crew more than ever next year, few people seem to believe us.

After having taken to social media to set the record straight, Lowndesy sat down with Paul Gover to elaborate on the decision and hopefully quell the rumours that are unfortunately tarnishing the final full-time months of one of the most legendary careers in Australian sport.

So, straight to the point – was he “pushed”?

“It was my decision, 100 per cent. I decided now is the right time.”

Calling a day on a career is a decision that almost no one takes lightly, regardless of his or her profession, but those who have the luxury of choice often cite timing as the most important factor.

“I’m satisfied with what I have achieved. Right now I want to try to win Bathurst again and be as high up as I can in this year’s championship, so I can leave the final race in Newcastle feeling satisfied,” Craig told the Herald Sun.

After a lean year in 2017, just a single podium added to his impressive tally, the six-time Bathurst winner was forced to consider this factor with a new emphasis.

“It was a tough year, no doubt about it. Last year people were shouting for me to retire because of my performance. Now they are shouting that I’ve been forced out. You can’t win. Whenever somebody retires it’s supposed to be a celebration, not a cremation.

“This is the right time. I want the fans to enjoy the second half of this year for what it is. And to finish the journey that a lot of people have followed since I started.”

The future is not only bright, it’s long. Don’t be concerned that you’ll never be able to get an autograph or photo again, Lowndesy will be in pit lane and armed with pens just as much as or even more than he is now – and for a long time at that.

It will undoubtedly be a sad day in Adelaide when the great man is absent from the class of 2019 line-up, but for someone who’s given the sport so much joy for over two decades, the very least we can all give Craig is the respect of his choices.

“I’m happy. I’ve had a very successful career in a sport that I love. It’s not the end of the book, just one chapter. There are many more chapters to come.”

Watpac Townsville 400 event 8 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Townsville. July 5th to 7th 2018

After all is said and done, we hope that, if you couldn’t before, you can now see Lowndesy’s decision for what it was – his. And if you’re still camping with the conspiracy theorists, maybe give your inner-pessimist a rest, let the keyboard be and celebrate Craig Lowndes in all his grinning glory.

“It’s supposed to be a celebration, not a cremation.”