Christchurch teenager Scott McLaughlin created history today becoming the youngest winner in V8 Supercars history with a stunning drive in the opening race at Pukekohe.
The 19-year-old has been a constant force in his first full season, making the top 10 in all five races over the opening two meetings in Adelaide and Tasmania, as well as winning one of the exhibition races held during the Melbourne grand prix.
But he went to another level today and received a standing ovation from the massive crowd, making the most of the perfect conditions in South Auckland.
There was plenty of drama with series leader Jamie Whincup puncturing on the opening turn and fellow Aussie Mark Winterbottom striking tyre problems while leading on lap 12 of 35.
That allowed McLaughlin, who had started fourth on the grid, to grab the lead and he never relinquished it, heading off Jason Bright and Craig Lowndes for the chequered flag.
"I've never had to be emotional in the car but that was pretty cool. I've dreamed of this," McLaughlin beamed after the race.
"It's something I'll never forget. This is so big for myself, my family and my team. They all deserve it so much.
"It was hard because I had Jason coming at me a little bit and then all of a sudden he's dropped off and I got away a little more.
"I just tried to bring it home and it was the coolest feeling of my life.
"I felt the whole pressure of New Zealand on me as well, it was so hard and it was awesome. But if I keep doing the job I'm doing, I'm happy."
McLaughlin said it was an honour to be in the record books of a category he followed since he was a child.
"For me to be in the history books in this category, in many different ways, is unbelievable. In the future I'm hoping to tick off a few more before I get older!"
Kiwi duo Shane van Gisbergen and Fabian Coulthard were fourth and fifth over the line in a strong showing by the New Zealand contingent, who make up just four of the 27 drivers in the field.
The fourth Kiwi, Jonny Reid, finished 23rd.
The race win was also the 21st by a Holden driver in 22 races at Pukekohe.
Whincup, the series leader, fared far better in the second race of the day, finally claiming his first win of the season.
Coulthard started on pole but took a 10-second penalty for an early jump. While he battled through to finish second, his adjusted time saw him finish 10th.
Whincup survived a dangerous overtaking move from Winterbottom on the final lap, that saw second-placed Winterbottom spin out and eventually cross the line 13th.
Will Davison claimed second and Garth Tander was third.
The Kiwis had a tough time. Van Gisbergen was the best with a seventh while McLauglin paid the price for being caught in a mess on lap 19 and eventually limped home 24th. Redi finished 22nd.
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