Marcos Ambrose and Jamie Whincup aren't strangers in V8 Supercars. But back at the height of Ambrose's V8 Supercars glory, now king of the category Whincup was just a rookie trying to lock in a long-term contract.
"I remember following him in 2003, which was a huge achievement, for about three laps before he disappeared," Whincup joked earlier in the year about the 'Devil Racer'.
Some believe, had Ambrose not chosen to pursue a career in NASCAR overseas, after recording two Championship wins in five V8 Supercar seasons, he would have gone on to smash records in our category.
But in his absence, it was up-and-comer Whincup who set the Supercar world on fire, about to accept his fourth consecutive Championship trophy - sixth in total.
Ambrose believes had be been around, Whincup still may have proved unstoppable.
"Not for one second would I come in here and say that he doesn't deserve what he's done -if I would have been around, he may well have done the same thing," Ambrose told v8supercars.com.au.
"Jamie has just been the constant professional - he deserves every success that he's had. He's shown a lot of determination, courage and skill to win the Championships - he deserves all of his success."
In his third full-time season, newly signed with Triple Eight, Whincup defiantly won the Clipsal 500, as many high profile competitors crashed out in the chaotic 2006 contest.
He continued to push forward in 2007, missing out on the Championship title by just two points from Garth Tander.
And from there, he has practically been unstoppable.
James Courtney ruffled his feathers in 2010, pinching the crown - but in six of the past seven years, Whincup has been unflappable and will this weekend be given the accolade that elevates him above the sport's best.
"He's really an exceptional talent and he deserves all of his success and the accolades he is getting right now," Ambrose said.
"If I go back into my team and do my job the way I should and we bring Team Penske's resources and assets to the table, our plan is to try and win races and win championships.
"And by doing that, we're going to take it to Jamie and Red Bull and Triple 8 - that's just what's going to happen and I hope to get there.
"It's certainly not a guarantee but we're going to try really hard to be a formidable force out there and to be a contender."
Whincup didn't doubt the former champ's, and winner of seven NASCAR races, ability ahead of his first race back.
"He'll be very fast, a good challenge," the Red Bull racer said.
"I can just roll in drive my car and go home, it'll be fantastic," he joked about Ambrose sharing the spotlight.
How will the old champ stack up against the new? Stay tuned to this weekend's Sydney NRMA 500 to see Ambrose's first races in a V8 Supercar in nine years, and Whincup take home a record shattering sixth Championship trophy on Sunday afternoon.