McLaughlin takes crucial Supercars result

Darwin's second race might be looked back upon as the day Scott McLaughlin secured his maiden Supercars championship.

He didn't win the race, but a second, even a simple finish, was just as good considering the circumstances.

The Shell V-Power star was in danger of not completing the 70-lap stanza at Hidden Valley Raceway on Sunday.

Excessive smoke from the back of his engine and issues with ventilation meant the Ford flyer could have easily been forced to the garage early.

Instead of bombing out, McLaughlin crossed the line behind only Erebus' David Reynolds to go alongside his win in Saturday's 42-lap race.

Reynolds pulled off a miracle move on the first lap to go from fourth to the lead in the blink of an eye.

With Red Bull Holden's Shane van Gisbergen only managing fourth, McLaughlin actually extended his lead in the championship standings to 161 points.

The New Zealand champion didn't realise how dire his situation had become until he pulled in for his second pitstop.

"That was a really good race for us," McLaughlin said.

"Davey's (Reynolds) move around the outside was awesome.

"About lap two I lost my helmet fan and a couple of laps later I started getting really hot with the engine. It was all about trying to bring it home from there.

"It was crazy and there was stuff going on everywhere but second for us and extended the points gap, so it's not a bad thing."

McLaughlin has won six of the season's 16 races, only two shy of the number he brought up last year when he narrowly missed out winning the title to Jamie Whincup.

Seven-time champion Whincup has struggled since he went to Phillip Island in April leading the series.

But by ending on the podium for the second race at the Northern Territory, Whincup restored some much needed pride and confidence.

Whincup sits fifth, 433 points behind McLaughlin as the series moves to Townsville on July 6-8.