HE IS the chief executive of a major Australian company, a professional triathlete and now Paul Dumbrell is a V8 Supercars race winner.
In one of the great V8 stories, the Rod Nash Racing driver yesterday held off Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom to break one of the longest droughts in the sport’s history.
Dumbrell had not won a race since starting his career in 1998 and he did it two weeks after he was going to retire.
“They had to sit me down and make me change my mind,” Dumbrell said.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do for a while. But I’m here for another 12 months at least.”
A busy man, Dumbrell is chief executive of automotive giant Autobarn and also competes as a triathlete.
He will travel to Mexico this week for a full event in a bid to qualify for the Hawaii Ironman.
“I do it for a release, contrary to what everyone thinks,” he said. “Hopefully I can get a podium over there.”
Making Dumbrell’s story even more remarkable is the trying family circumstances he’s been forced to endure.
Dumbrell’s brother Lucas was crippled in a horror Formula Ford accident two years ago and will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
His father, Gary, was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and has been given a 10 per cent chance of survival.
Both were on course yesterday to see his emotional breakthrough victory.
“It’s just pure elation,” Dumbrell said. “It’s been a big two years in my life and I didn’t know if I was coming or going.
“The team just did a tremendous job today. I’m not quite sure how we did it, but we did it.
“It’s an amazing feeling, especially for Rod and I who drove at Bathurst 10 years ago.
“To win a race now that I’m driving for him is very special.”
In another dramatic event, the race was forced to restart after Garth Tander speared off the track at 260km/h and hit a tyre wall.
The cars were forced to re-grid and the delay shortened the race to 32 laps.
It was good news for Dumbrell, who had a shocking start and plummeted back to fourth after he missed the first turn.
He said he had no concerns about receiving a warning for excessive blocking of Whincup, which Tander was caught up in.
“No, I knew that was coming,” Dumbrell said. “I was fairly aggressive there.
“I just had a couple of laps where I struggled to get the balance on the car.
“Jamie didn’t have me off for which I was thankful.”
Whincup was in control of the race until his team made another uncharacteristic error.
After failing to put enough fuel in the car last week, the pit crew yesterday overfilled, costing the reigning champion valuable time.
He was second to Dumbrell when he rejoined the race, with his sizeable lead lost in pit-lane.
Dumbrell was forced to fight hard for the win, with Whincup storming home and monstering him all the way to the end.
Championship leader James Courtney finished fourth and had his lead cut to 32 points over Whincup.
Winterbottom stayed in the fight for the crown by finishing third.