McLaughlin from kid to Supercars king
FIVE years ago Scott McLaughlin was "plucking it in first'', "giving it some jandal'' and swearing on national TV - now he is a Supercars champion.
In a V8 fairytale, a kid became the king when McLaughlin beat Shane van Gisbergen in the Newcastle 500 to deliver DJR/Team Penske and Ford the Supercars crown.
"How good is this?'' McLaughlin said. "We have worked so hard for this one.''
McLaughlin, 25, stormed on to the V8 scene in 2014 when, after beating Jamie Whincup to claim his first podium, he famously declared: "I just plucked it in first and gave it some jandal and f … yeah."
On Sunday, he finally delivered on his potential when he floored van Gisbergen to become a V8 champion.
McLaughlin's name is now on the championship trophy alongside the likes of Jamie Whincup, Mark Skaife and Dick Johnson after he finished almost 40 seconds in front of his Red Bull Holden Racing Team rival as Dave Reynolds won the season-ending Newcastle 500.
Looking every inch the V8 superstar as he hoisted the trophy, it is difficult to believe that just five years ago McLaughlin was a flat cap-wearing kid who swore on national TV.
"I am not going to swear this time around, I promise,'' McLaughlin said. "I'll say holy smokes, instead. I am just feeling so amazed. I just can't believe this. Holy guacamole.''
McLaughlin, whose first words were "Mobil" and "Volvo'', was always expected to become a V8 champion.
It just took a year longer than it should have after a spectacular last-race fail cost him the title last year.
"We will call it redemption,'' McLaughlin said. "We got it done.''
Silencing any suggestion he was mentally weak after last year's heartbreak, McLaughlin survived the 250km finale to claim second place and win his year-long fight against van Gisbergen.
"I have to pay my respects to Shane,'' McLaughlin said.
"We raced hard all year and it went down to the wire. It was a hell of a battle but we got it done."
McLaughlin needed only a top-six finish to win the title after van Gisbergen was stripped of his win in race one on Saturday.
Van Gisbergen received a 25-second time penalty for a fuel-filling breach in pit-lane that cost him 53 championship points. "The bloody series took it away from us,'' said van Gisbergen, who finished fourth. "That's shit."
McLaughlin never gave van Gisbergen a chance when he started and finished the race in front of his Red Bull rival in an inch-perfect 250km drive.
"I started to think about it with about 30 laps to go,'' he said. "That felt like one of the longest stints in my life.
"I have to thank my mum and dad and my nan because I promised her I would do this for her.''
Racing legend Johnson cried tears of joy when McLaughlin delivered his team its first championship since 2010.
"It has been a bloody while,'' Johnson said. "Scott is a matador. And it is redemption for last year."