Holden driver Michael Caruso says his drought-breaking win in a gruelling 69-lap second race at the Triple Crown V8 Supercar event in Darwin is "huge".Caruso secured his first victory in one-and-a-half years as a V8 Supercar driver by just holding off fast-finishing Ford driver Alex Davison to become the sport's first new race winner since his teammate Lee Holdsworth prevailed at Oran Park in 2007.
That win was also the last time Caruso's Garry Rogers Motorsport team stood on top of the podium and the 26-year-old was delighted to have come out on top.
"This is huge, no doubt about it," he said.
"I'm at the pinnacle of Australian motor racing ... I probably haven't come to terms with how big it is."
Caruso was made to work a lot harder for his win when a late safety car compressed the field, allowing Davison to use his near-new sprint tyres to accelerate past several cars and nearly haul in Caruso on the line.
Ford's Craig Lowndes crossed in third, with Holden duo Rick Kelly and Garth Tander fourth and fifth.
All were victims of Davison's remarkable charge, and Caruso admitted to nerves as the Stone Brothers Racing car loomed in his rear-view mirror.
"I was sort of counting on Craig to hold him up a little bit," he said.
"When someone's on sticky tyres it is very difficult because our tyres had done a lot of work."
Dumped by the Castrol Perkins team after a horror year in 2005, an emotional Davison felt he had put some of his doubters in their place with his late heroics.
"I was sort of written off for a while and it's a pretty hard field to get back into when you've been booted out once so I couldn't be happier," the 29-year-old said.
"Today was obviously the first time I qualified in the top ten but also the first soft-tyre race I've had where we haven't had a problem.
"It was really good fun carving through today when you're going so much faster than everybody else. It's sort of like stealing candy from a baby."
Lowndes, who celebrated his 35th birthday with a podium finish, made a crucial error after a tyre change where he went spearing off the track at the first turn.
"A bit of a mistake unfortunately because where we were positioned was where we wanted to be," the Ford star said.
Championship leader Jamie Whincup had a rare off-day, finishing 10th, but surprisingly extended his lead when his main rival Will Davison was involved in late drama and had to settle for 18th position.
Davison's Holden Racing Team teammate Tander, who has moved to third on the championship ladder after this weekend's round, was left fuming at Kelly Racing's Dale Wood.
"We got stuffed up at the restart by Dale Wood and that hurt as Lowndes got past and ended up third," he said.
"Wood needs to go back to Formula Ford because he's seriously out of his depth. We've been talking for a while about putting the lapped cars to the back for the restarts, and maybe with 10 laps to go we do that so the real cars can go racing again."