Evergreen Craig Lowndes has become the first driver in V8 Supercars history to win a century of championship races.
The Holden star had been sitting on 99 victories since Tasmania in March, but finally broke through for No.100 on Saturday in a dramatic second sprint in Darwin.
Fittingly, it was the 888th race in the series – Lowndes’ car number.
“It’s quite incredible,” a teary Lowndes said.
“We’ve been close a number of times, the last couple of rounds, but this one’s obviously very special for me.”
The 40-year-old started from fifth on the grid but was handed the lead on the first lap following a clash between the Nissan of polesitter Rick Kelly and Fabian Coulthard’s Commodore.
It was the first of several incidents on a chaotic day of racing at the newly resurfaced Hidden Valley circuit.
Nick Percat and Andre Heimgartner made early exits after a four-car pile-up involving Holden’s defending champion Jamie Whincup and Mercedes’ Will Davison.
The incident triggered a safety car and some harsh words from Percat, who said on live TV that Whincup “drives like a tool”.
“How has that bloke won anything?” Percat said over the team radio, even though Heimgartner appeared to be the one at fault.
Ford’s Chaz Mostert won the opening 21-lap race earlier in the afternoon, which also had its fair share of drama.
He finished ahead of championship leader and Prodrive Racing Australia teammate Mark Winterbottom to give PRA their fourth straight race win.
Lowndes crossed the line in 18th after getting caught up in an opening-lap incident with teammate Whincup, who finished 11th.
It was worse for Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander and James Courtney, who ended in 20th and 23rd respectively.