Lowndes looking to start own 100 club
V8 LEGEND Craig Lowndes has been asked the same question on countless occasions for the past three months: "Are you confident this next race can be your 100th championship win?"
Victory at the Tasmanian SuperSprint round at Symmons Plains in late March took him to 99 but reaching triple figures has proven elusive.
Expectation is high that Sunday's 70-lapper at Darwin's Hidden Valley could see Lowndes become the first man to reach No.100, not only because he has six wins and 18 podium finishes at the circuit, but also because it happens to be his 41st birthday.
He even won the first V8 race held in Darwin, back in 1998 when he was with the Holden Racing Team.
Lowndes' situation could be likened to a batsman searching for that elusive single to bring up three figures, but he said he could only see the positives.
"It's fantastic that I'm in this situation - when I first started out I didn't think I could win 99 races," he told APN.
"I'd rather be asked this question than not - it's a great honour talking to you about it. It doesn't worry me at all."
It would certainly be special for the popular Queenslander to notch up his ton in Darwin, a place that has brought him so much joy for almost 20 years.
"Winning in the first year of V8 racing in Darwin was so exciting - it was the start of a great relationship with Darwin," Lowndes said.
"The whole town really comes alive for an event like this. The Clipsal 500 in Adelaide is similar.
"I love coming up here - it's a wonderful place. I enjoy the warm weather, the friendly people and it's a showcase event for the city.
"The track has also been resurfaced, which is exciting."
Lowndes put his success in the Top End down to being able to acclimatise to the heat, and his ability to concentrate over the longer racing format (70 laps on Sunday) at the venue.
He comes into the weekend second on the championship ladder, just 12 points behind Ford driver Mark Winterbottom, and said he was confident of clocking up more wins, even if it's not with Red Bull.
"I've signed with Triple Eight Engineering for the next two years - whether I stay with Red Bull, I'm not sure at this stage," Lowndes said.
"I'm still enjoying my racing. Once I feel like I can no longer be competitive, then I'll look elsewhere."