A year after losing the Supercars championship in heart-breaking fashion, Scott McLaughlin has earned the ultimate redemption.
McLaughlin finished second in the final race of the season in Newcastle to claim the championship title at the same place he threw it away a year ago, seeing off the title challenge of compatriot Shane van Gisbergen, who could only finish fourth.
It was sweet atonement after the drama of last year, in which McLaughlin lead by 78 points heading into the final race – also on Sunday, in Newcastle. Needing only to finish in the top 11, three penalties saw McLaughlin finish 18th, with Jamie Whincup winning the final race, and with it, the championship.
McLaughlin admitted earlier this week to not having re-watched the race, but there were no sign of any mental scars as the 25-year-old drove safely throughout, avoiding any errors, and being content with letting David Reynolds pass him for victory in the final laps, safe in the knowledge that he had the bigger prize in the bag – the championship.
McLaughlin couldn't contain his emotion after the race.
"I just can't believe we've done it.
"You work so hard your whole life to get to something like this – this has been my dream.
"I promised my gran who passed away that I would do this for her and I'm so stoked I finally got it, because last year I genuinely thought I may not get another chance.
"Everyone here, all the guys, we worked so hard. I have to pay respects to Shane, we raced hard all year, it was a hell of a battle. I'm absolutely amazed."
Fortunately for McLaughlin, the final race was far less dramatic than this time a year ago, in part thanks to an overnight penalty against van Gisbergen.
Van Gisbergen was stripped of Saturday's thrilling victory, in which he passed McLaughlin on the final lap, after it was ruled that his car was lowered to the ground with the refuelling hose still attached during his final pit stop.
The resulting 25-second penalty saw him drop from first to fifth, and instead of a two-point margin and a winner-take-all fight for the title, McLaughlin suddenly had a 52-point lead, and only needed to cross the line in the top six to win the championship.
He did that with ease, and van Gisbergen was left disappointed that he his championship hopes were hindered.
"I feel a bit gutted that the series did what they did, it's inconsistent, it's average. I would have loved to have fought on equal points and we would have all had a bit more motivation, we were pretty dejected today.
"We did everything we could. Congrats to them, they're worthy champions. I've enjoyed the fight, I'm still proud, but it's a tough one."
Having come so close last year, McLaughlin had spent all season refusing to touch the trophy, wanting to wait until he had won it before lifting it to the heavens.
Now, it will be hard to tear it away from his grasp.