Monday, July 22, 2024

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McLaughlin 'fed up with over-cutting' gives back to IndyCar team

IndyCar Series results have been a mixed bag for Scott McLaughlin recently, and on Sunday his strategy of overcoming overcuts worked to his advantage, earning him a third-place finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Starting sixth within the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet, the 31-year-old McLaughlin quickly moved up one position early within the race, passing Marcus Ericsson at the primary corner.

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He then opted to remain out for 2 laps longer than anyone else, using a two-stop strategy, benefiting from the slow track to set fast lap times after which pitting on lap 30 to return to motion in third place – two places higher than his pre-pit stop position.

The New Zealander took to the track at the least a lap later than anyone else in the sphere through the second cycle, pitting on lap 56 and returning clear of all competition.

He ultimately finished a distant third with a time of 16.1558 seconds behind race winner Pato O'Ward and almost seven seconds ahead of fourth-place Colton Herta, whom he passed in the primary round of pit stops.

It’s McLaughlin’s second podium within the last three races and fourth this season. He also recently finished third at Road America after which a heartbreaking twenty first at Laguna Seca – his fourth Twentieth-or-worst finish of the yr.

“As everyone knows, we’ve had our ups and downs the last few events,” said McLaughlin, currently eighth within the championship standings.

“It’s nice to get one other solid result and hopefully we will go to Iowa where we all know we’ll probably be pretty fast. It’s only a matter of putting all of it together on this short stretch of time until the top of the championship.

“I actually enjoyed the hybrid integration. I actually enjoyed learning it throughout the weekend and the race.

“But we did a lot of that first stint overcutting those guys. I’m sick of overcutting, so I thought, ‘Hell yeah, I’ll overcut.’ I think we were the last ones to pit and we probably led our laps there.”

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo: Josh Tons / Motorsports images

The sojourn in no man’s land gave McLaughlin a more in-depth take a look at the hybrid unit, which made its race weekend debut on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course in Lexington, Ohio.

“I lost a lot of time in that first stage but in the end I tried to make the most of the day, save as much fuel as possible and I just passed the guys in the overcut but they were already very far away,” he said.

“Honestly, it was a little bit of a test for me. I used to be trying various things with the hybrid, push-to-pass, all that stuff. It was really fun.

“We learned a lot of things, we got points and we hope to use them later, whether it’s next year or at the end of the year.”

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