Steely McLaughlin shows Supercars mettle

In the euphoria of his win on home soil, Scott McLaughlin has established he's ready to become a Supercars champion at Newcastle this month.

McLaughlin rode a wave of emotion to triumph in Sunday's race at Pukekohe Park, claiming the Jason Richards Trophy for best performed driver of the Kiwi meet.

In points terms, McLaughlin leaves New Zealand in the same place he arrived in; 14 points clear of Shane van Gisbergen after the pair reversed their 1-2 finish on Saturday.

But McLaughlin was entitled to rip into his burnouts on Sunday, and his fence-climbing celebration, given his weekend of tumult.

His DJR Team Penske garage was forced into major works on his Falcon after a crash forced an early end to Friday's practice.

On Saturday, he was shunted by van Gisbergen and finished second behind his rival, then locked in his car when the Red Bull HRT driver parked him in before celebrating.

Plenty of drivers on the Supercars grid might have blown up after the antics, considering the pressure that comes with winning your first championship.

McLaughlin and his team did their talking on the track, with superior pit work and a sterling drive that ensures they head to Newcastle with confidence and momentum.

"It was full on. It was one of the hardest races for a long time, if ever," he said.

"I just wanted this race today to prove a few things. That we are strong as a team and we never give up.

"Myself, I felt really strong the whole race. I didn't put a foot wrong. It was one of my best races."

McLaughlin would have led the championship by 23 points, if not for Jamie Whincup giving way on the last lap for van Gisbergen.

It's a technical breach of the rules but McLaughlin wasn't about to nitpick, saying he would have done the same in that situation.

Instead, he's embracing the rough and tumble of a championship fight - including the now infamous parking-in episode.

"The post-race stuff was pretty full-on but we'll move on from that," he said.

"We always race hard and fair.

"All year we've been at each other. We've been like cockroaches to each other.

"There are going to be times when there's a lot of tension.

"I'm sure at the end of it, the right guy will win and the best driver.

"It's going to be hard to the end. It's going to be dog eat dog and I'm pumped for it."