Scott McLaughlin’s second IndyCar Series win was one to savor after he put on a masterclass reminiscent of his Supercars days in front of family.
The Team Penske pilot dominated round nine of the IndyCar Series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, leading home Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou in a tight contest.
The 80-lapper was literate with interventions, but the front-row starting Kiwi ultimately got up after his main adversary Pato O’Ward of McLaren SP encountered early engine issues.
Stan Sport is the only place to watch the 2022 INDYCAR Series with every race streaming ad free, live and on demand. Start your free Stan Sport trial here!
McLaughlin’s parents Wayne and Diane recently made the trip to the United States for the Indianapolis 500, the family reuniting after the COVID-19 pandemic kept them locked out.
“I really wanted to get a win here with mum and dad,” said McLaughlin.
“Our first time with Odyssey Battery on the car, it was awesome as well to have them onboard, but to have mum and dad was super special.
“America’s weekend! Last night I was dressed up as a blow-up eagle, maybe I need to do that every July 4th weekend.
“It was tough,” McLaughlin said of the battle with Palou.
“You’re thinking about fuel, but thankfully obviously Chevy gave us great fuel mileage and driveability off the restarts that allowed me to get a little bit of a gap from Palou.
“I’m really proud of the guys. The car they gave me was a little bit hard to drive at the end there, I would have loved to have made it a little easier for myself.
“Super proud of everyone. Great pit stops from the Car 3 team. Thirsty threes baby, we’re going to the moon.”
READ MORE: Legend calls for ‘respect’ after Kyrgios furore
READ MORE: Formula 1 young gun survives horrific crash
READ MORE: Raiders fume at controversial call that baffled greats
READ MORE: Volkanovski retains title in dominant bloodbath
Initially, O’Ward got the holeshot from pole position while second place starter McLaughlin slotted in behind to defend an attack from Colton Herta.
However, he was Felix Rosenqvist who was the aggressor early on as he usurped Herta and sought to swing around the outside of McLaughlin, although ultimately to no avail.
Further afield, an ambitious overtake attempt on Takuma Sato by Will Power saw the No.12 pilot spin on his own and drop to lass.
At the end of the first flying lap, it was O’Ward who led McLaughlin, Rosenqivst, Herta, Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, Palou, David Malukas, Kyle Kirkwood, and Callum Illot.
Disaster struck podium content Rosenqvist on lap nine when his hopes went up in smoke, the No.7 slowing out of The Keyhole before pulling to the side of the road. The Swede threw his headrest in disgust as the yellow flag flew.
As racing resumed on lap 13, Herta attempted to pass McLaughlin through turn one but failed and instead found himself under attack from Dixon who surged past down the straight.
Pit stops began in earnest on lap 23 when Josef Newgarden came to the lane from 11th with Rinus Veekay and Christian Lundgaard in tow.
After his team-mate Rosenqvist bowed out early, O’Ward began blowing up on the radio as he ceded time to McLaughlin.
“Something’s going on with the gearbox. I’m losing power, I’m losing power,” he screamed.
“I can’t use any extra power.”
Come lap 29, O’Ward pitted from the lead for his first stop of the day with third-placed Dixon in behind.
The chaos continued on lap 30 as Andretti Autosport-bound Kirkwood speared off the road and slapped the tire wall, ending his day early.
Just seconds before the yellow flag flew and the pit lane closed, the leaders came to the lane for their first stops.
As the yellow flag flew, McLaughlin was scored as the leader despite Palou sweeping around his outside on the pit rejoin at the first turn. The Spaniard made the most of an undercut, climbing from sixth to second. Herta was third while O’Ward slumped from the lead to fourth.
Racing resumed on lap 36, although that was short-lived after Dalton Kellet got beached at The Keyhole courtesy of a hit from Jack Harvey.
The quiet achiever at the mid-way mark was Power who cracked the top 10 having been pointing the wrong way on the opening lap.
O’Ward’s hopes continued to fade as Dixon and Newgarden dropped him to seventh on lap 45. Shortly thereafter, Marcus Ericsson, Power, and Alexander Rossi dropped the Mexican to the back end of the top 10.
Come lap 53, Tatiana Calderon began slowing and pulled to the side of the road as the final sequence of pit stops began.
That threatened another yellow flag, forcing the front-runners to pit before the pit lane closed.
While all that was happening, pole sitter O’Ward stalled as he left his bay and stopped at pit exit bringing his day to an early end.
The biggest loser in that sequence was Herta, who opted not to pit. The American pounded his steering wheel in disgust as he took himself out of contention, needing to pit under green when the race eventually resumed.
Racing recommenced on lap 58. The shock mover in the pit stop sequence was Power who found himself on the fringe of the top five and in contention for the win. Shod with the softer compound tire, he blew by Rinus VeeKay and put himself into a net third place.
The yellow flag flew once more as Andretti Autosport team-mates Rossi and Romain Grosjean came to blows in a clumsy incident at The Keyhole.
McLaughlin led the field to green for the final time with 18 laps to go followed closely by Palou and Power.
Andretti Autosport continued to find itself in the wars, this time courtesy of Grosjean who got into the back of Herta and sent him off the road at turn two.
Try as he might, Palou couldn’t come close enough to mount an attack on McLaughlin in the closing stages. Last year’s champion kept him honest though, the gap never stretching more than one second.
Eventually, McLaughlin crossed the finish line to claim his second IndyCar Series win of the season.
In doing so, he joined Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser Jr, Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe, Simon Pagenaud, Power, and Newgarden as race winners at Mid-Ohio for Team Penske.
Power completed the podium, capping off a topsy-turvy day ahead of VeeKay and Dixon.
Marcus Ericsson, who finished sixth, retains the series points lead over Power heading into the Honda Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place.
McLaughlin’s win moves him up two places to seventh in the standings.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
Incredible escapes: The worst crashes in motorsport history
#McLaughlins #super #special #win #front #family