Scott McLaughlin powers to Portland victory

2 Mins read
Credit: Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment

Scott McLaughlin stepped up when he needed to most as a dominant victory in the Grand Prix of Portland embedded him into the NTT IndyCar Series championship conversation with just one race to go.

McLaughlin’s masterclass is the finest performance of his career to date, leading all but six of the 110 laps from the pole. By comparison led 49% of the race in his maiden win at St. Petersburg earlier this year and 56% in his second triumph at Mid-Ohio. The 104 of 110 laps led (94.5%) is also the second most in the Grand Prix of Portland’s history by a slim margin, with the record being 95.2% (100 of 105) by A.J. Allmendinger—who coincidentally won the inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race there in June—in the 2006 edition under Champ Car sanction.

The six non-McLaughlin laps led were split between four drivers: Penske team-mate Will Power (two), Graham Rahal (two), Callum Ilott, and Christian Lundgaard.

With his win and reigning Portland winner Álex Palou‘s twelfth, McLaughlin leapfrogs him for fifth in points. Power leads the points with 523 while McLaughlin is an outsider with 482, but the win mathematically keeps his championship hopes alive entering next week’s finale at Laguna Seca.

“The team, the Thirsty 3s, got the job done in the pits,” said McLaughlin. “We did exactly what we needed to do this weekend, and that was win and get max points and keep ourselves in the fight.

“Yeah, we’re a long shot. I don’t care. But we’re a shot, and I’m looking forward to it.”

After finishing runner-up in Portland, Power has a twenty-point edge over fellow Penske driver and second-placed Josef Newgarden. All Power needs to do to clinch the title is finish on the podium regardless of where McLaughlin, Newgarden, Scott Dixon, or Marcus Ericsson finish.

The lone incident of the race came on lap 84 when Rinus VeeKay turned Jimmie Johnson into the wall. VeeKay received a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact and apologised to Johnson, posting on social media that he “[t]hought I was completely past him but I wasn’t.”

Grand Prix of Portland Official Results

13Scott McLaughlinNZLTeam Penske1:56:15.6892
212Will PowerAUSTeam Penske+ 1.1792
39Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing+ 1.6006
45Pato O’WardMEXArrow McLaren SP+ 13.8892
515Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing+ 14.8208
626Colton HertaUSAAndretti Autosport+ 16.3039
727Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Autosport+ 17.0044
82Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske+ 17.6062
977Callum Ilott (R)GBRJuncos Hollinger Racing+ 18.0978
107Felix RosenqvistSWEArrow McLaren SP+ 18.6356
118Marcus EricssonSWEChip Ganassi Racing+ 23.5169
1210Álex PalouESPChip Ganassi Racing+ 27.5282
1314Kyle Kirkwood (R)USAA.J. Foyt Enterprises+ 28.3322
1418David Malukas (R)USADale Coyne Racing w/ HMD Motorsports+ 29.0288
1545Jack HarveyGBRRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing+ 31.2329
1629Devlin DeFrancesco (R)USAAndretti Steinbrenner Autosport+ 32.5754
1706Hélio CastronevesBRAMeyer Shank Racing+ 33.8121
1851Takuma SatoJPNDale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing+ 34.0886
1928Romain GrosjeanUSAAndretti Autosport+ 34.7299
2021Rinus VeeKayNEDEd Carpenter Racing+ 35.4454
2130Christian Lundgaard (R)DENRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing+ 44.5500
224Dalton KellettCANA.J. Foyt Enterprises+ 1 Lap
2360Simon PagenaudFRAMeyer Shank Racing+ 10 Laps
2448Jimmie JohnsonUSAChip Ganassi RacingContact
2520Conor DalyUSAEd Carpenter RacingMechanical
(R) – Rookie
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