For 12 years, Mark Winterbottom has been trying.
The first two were a write-off; one top-five finish was all he could manage with Larkham Motorsport.
But after his switch to Prodrive Racing Australia, he became V8 Supercars’ Mr Consistent.
He has finished the championship inside the top five every season since 2006, including runner-up in 2008.
The problem was not that he wasn’t good enough – it was more that Jamie Whincup was just too good.
Whincup dominated the category from 2008 with Triple Eight Race Engineering, winning all but one title up to last year.
A record seventh was too big a stretch in 2015 after some poor performances and bad luck early in the season.
And so there was Winterbottom’s best chance.
He grabbed two wins in Perth in May, before going on to take the championship lead at Winton the following round.
And he never gave it up.
Qualifying had perhaps been his biggest issue in previous years, but his shiny new FGX Falcon had the speed and reliability to make sure that wasn’t going to dog him again.
He scored 14 front-row starts, including pole position in the first race of the Sydney 500, and nine race victories.
Yes, he had the opportunity to wrap it up earlier in the season.
But it was somewhat fitting that the boy from Doonside was crowned V8 champion in Sydney’s west, just a stone’s throw away from where he grew up.
“Its such an important thing for me,” said the 34-year-old of winning the title.
“I’ve tried for so long. And I’m in my home town.
“I just wish my mum was here. She was with me for a long time.”
There’s no doubt June Winterbottom, who died of cancer in 2011, wouldn’t have been too far away.
MARK WINTERBOTTOM’S V8 SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS:
* 2004 – 18th
* 2005 – 29th
* 2006 – 3rd
* 2007 – 5th
* 2008 – 2nd
* 2009 – 5th
* 2010 – 3rd
* 2011 – 3rd
* 2012 – 3rd
* 2013 – 4th
* 2014 – 3rd
* 2015 – 1st