Scott McLaughlin has hailed a weekend of milestones including becoming the first driver to win the Darwin Triple Crown as a proud moment of his career.
A feat that had stood unclaimed since its inception in 2006 was taken out by the reigning Supercars champion after backing up Saturday’s win with a pole position in the Armor All Top 10 Shootout and a comfortable win in today’s Race 16.
The weekend also saw McLaughlin claim Team Penske’s 600th pole position in all competitions on Saturday.
In addition, McLaughlin is now tied second with legend Peter Brock in the all-time Australian Touring car pole charts on 57 poles, with only Jamie Whincup ahead of the pair with 80.
The Kiwi has racked up 37 wins to jump ahead of icon Allan Moffat in the ATCC/Supercars all-time wins tally, placing him eighth overall.
Given McLaughlin’s impressive run of form, the Kiwi had been tipped to challenge for the elusive Triple Crown.
In the end, the most serious threat to the Triple Crown came in today’s shootout as McLaughlin snatched his 11th pole of the season by a mere 0.015s from Shell V-Power Racing team-mate Fabian Coulthard, who had bettered his rival in two of the three sectors.
“We ticked all our goals this weekend, and that was also to extend the lead in the championship which is fantastic,” said McLaughlin.
“(It was a) proud moment for me, proud moment for the guys. It was really cool.
“We’ve done 300-point weekends, but the hardest thing I feel like – the races are hard don’t get me wrong – but the shootout is tough, (just) one lap. To get that right, well that’s a big tick.
“So, I just had to get the start and knew we had a pretty fast car for the rest.”
McLaughlin admitted it will take time for the achievements to sink in before revealing that he keeps his own stat sheets to track his career.
“You got to pinch yourself sometimes,” he said.
“I’ll go home – it won’t sink in at the moment – but I’ll go home and look at the little stats sheet.
“I make my own stats and look at things and just, like, follow my progress.
“I know what’s going on. It drives me to try to be as good or try to be as good as some of these guys. I’m very proud, and my family is too.
“I’m lucky to be doing this as my hobby as now my job and I’m very lucky for that.”
McLaughlin’s latest success has seen the 2018 champion win the last five races in a row, resulting in a 319-point lead over nearest rival Coulthard in the standings.