Newcastle 500: Jamie Whincup wins, Scott McLaughlin celebrates, Supercars announces 154,000 crowd

Scott McLaughlin celebrated defending his Supercars drivers' championship and winning the teams title after finishing fourth in the Newcastle 500 on Sunday.

The 26-year-old shook off a month of at times spiteful controversy to back up his second-place finish on Saturday behind series runner-up Shane van Gisbergen and win the drivers' crown.

The year-three crowd on an overcast day in Newcastle looked down on 2018, but tens of thousands of motor racing fans still lined the circuit to watch the action.

Supercars announced a three-day crowd of 154,008, a figure which includes thousands of tickets allocated to residents, businesses and people working at the event.

Last year's official crowd was 162,248.

Seven-time champion and pole-sitter Jamie Whincup demonstrated his liking for the Newcastle street circuit by taking the chequered flag for his second win in the event, ahead of McLaughlin's DJR Team Penske teammate, Fabian Coulthard, and Brad Jones Racing's Tim Slade.

But Whincup's Triple Eight teammate Shane van Gisbergen, who won in dominant fashion on Saturday, was uncharacteristically off the pace in qualifying on Sunday morning, missed the top-10 qualifying shootout and finished seventh.

The results meant DJR Team Penske wrapped up the teams championship.

McLaughlin had wrapped up the title in the previous round at Sandown, robbing the Newcastle race weekend of the tension of previous years.

He celebrated with a burnout which blew out his rear tyres before standing on the roof of his Ford Mustang at the end of pit lane with a "BACK TO BACK" sign in his hands.

The Kiwi described the past week as particularly challenging after two rival drivers compared him with disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong over his contentious victory in the Bathurst 1000 last month.

He said after Sunday's race that a minority of fans had abused him and Coulthard during the drivers' parade on Saturday.

"There was some bad fans," he said. "There was a couple hanging over the fence telling us all sorts of names, and there was 95 per cent of them that were amazing.

"It's been hard. It's been hard for me because my mum and dad and [fiancee] Karly and my sister they probably feel the pain more than I do, and that's not on."

Off the track, chief executive Sean Seamer said he hoped Supercars, which has an option to extend its contract to race in Newcastle from five years to 10, would have a "very long future" in the city.

"We're only in year three of a five-plus-five agreement, so we won't start to look at renewal discussions and what that looks like until this time next year at the earliest," he said.

But he said the feedback from City of Newcastle and Destination NSW, the other parties to the agreement, had been "extremely positive".

"We see this event as a landmark event. It's important to the state; it's important to Newcastle.

"We'll work through with all the different constituents to make sure that hopefully we've got a very long future up here."

Seamer said the organisation was considering several changes to the race precinct for next year, including moving the concert venue back inside the circuit.

Cold Chisel played to a bumper crowd inside the track in 2017 before Simple Minds drew a modest turn-out to No.1 Sportsground last year.

Rock band KISS were meant to headline a concert at No.1 Sportsground on Saturday night before cancelling their Australian tour 10 days ago.

Seamer said Supercars would talk to Fair Trading this week to seek guidance on how to refund fans for the cancelled concert.

Police used capsicum spray when arresting four men in an ugly incident on Saturday afternoon but declared they were otherwise happy with the crowd's behaviour over the weekend.

The tram, which operated for the first time during a Supercars weekend, proved a hit with visitors to Newcastle and local race fans.

The Newcastle Herald heard of no complaints with public transport, which appeared to run smoothly to and from the event.

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