Advertisement

Team Penske's McLaughlin, Power go one-two at Barber

Scott McLaughlin has won his second straight race at Barber Motorsports Park, giving Team Penske a much-needed triumph just days after IndyCar erased Josef Newgarden's victory and also disqualified McLaughlin from the season opener.

New Zealander McLaughlin and Penske's fuel strategy worked to perfection on Monday (AEST) in Birmingham, Alabama, with Australian teammate Will Power finishing second — the same order they started in.

McLaughlin's fifth IndyCar win provided temporary solace after a troubling week for Team Penske, led by series owner Roger Penske. On Wednesday, Newgarden had his season-opening win at St. Petersburg, Florida, stripped for manipulating the push-to-pass function system on his car. McLaughlin, likewise, was disqualified after finishing third.

Power was docked points and fined but not disqualified. They bounced back to give Team Penske their eighth win in 14 races at the permanent road course.

"It was a little emotional for sure," three-time Supercars champion McLaughlin said.

"It's just nice. It was just a nice cap after obviously it was a pretty tough week.

"We just had to keep rolling ... We know our job. We know what we need to do. I'm just super proud of our execution."

Two-time series champion Newgarden finished 16th at a race where he had won three times before. He had tearfully acknowledged days earlier having used the push-to-pass when it wasn't allowed at St. Petersburg, while saying he didn't knowingly break the rules.

Most of the drama for his teammates McLaughlin and Power were left behind once hitting the track, with McLaughlin holding onto his lead coming out of a third and final pit stop with 16 laps to go. He led 58 of the 90 laps and raced to the win coming out of a caution with two laps to go. Power held off rookie Linus Lundqvist to finish second.

"He got a run on me and you don't want two Penske cars out of the race with everything that was going on," Power said of McLaughlin.

"So I was kind of easy on him going into Turn 1 there. We were certainly fast but a lot of strategy played into that."

Felix Rosenqvist was fourth and 2021 winner Alex Palou fifth.