McLaughlin wins in Portland as Power extends IndyCar lead

Australia’s Will Power tightened his grip on the Indycar season’s title while New Zealand’s Penske Racing teammate Scott McLaughlin won Sunday’s Portland Grand Prix with a dominant performance.

Pole-sitter McLaughlin earned his third career IndyCar win after leading 104 of 110 laps of the 1.964-mile, 12-turn road course at Portland, Oregon International Raceway.

“The car felt good in the first stint, but it got a little worse as the race progressed,” said McLaughlin. “I just had to focus on where the strengths are in the car and try to work with those and the weaknesses to make the best of it.”

Power finished second, extending his season points lead from just three to 523-503 over American Josef Newgarden and New Zealander Scott Dixon, with the 17-race season ending next Sunday at Laguna Seca, where a podium finish would be enough to claim the crown to secure performance.

“It’s still very tough,” Power said. “We’re in the best position. We have the best shot. We’ll do everything we can.”

Dixon, who was targeting a record-breaking seventh career title of the season, finished third after starting 16th and jumping from sixth to third after a restart with 22 laps remaining.

“We had to drive through the field,” said Dixon. “We tried as much as possible in the last run.

“We are still in the fight. Anything is possible. We are in it and we will never give up until it’s over.”

Newgarden finished eighth but has a season-high five race wins for a tie-breaker advantage over all rivals.

“We’re going to Laguna and just trying to be fast,” said Newgarden. “We’re going to try to win this race and go broke.”

Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson of Sweden, 39 points behind, and McLaughlin, 41 points behind, have long title chances.

“Yeah, we’re a longshot, but I don’t care,” McLaughlin said. “We have a chance and I’m looking forward to it.”

McLaughlin, who also won at St. Petersburg and Mid-Ohio this year, claimed his seventh podium of the season and fourth in five races to remain in the hunt for the season’s championship.

“We did exactly what we had to do this weekend and that was win and get the maximum number of points, keep us in the fight,” said McLaughlin.

Power won his only IndyCar crown of the season in 2014, while Newgarden clinched titles in 2017 and 2019 and finished second for the last two years.

“I want to win this championship for the guys that have been with me for more than a decade,” said Power. “You deserve it for the pain over the years of losing so many.”

McLaughlin and front row neighbor Power stayed 1-2 from start to final pit stops.

Dutchman Rinus VeeKay bumped American Jimmie Johnson squarely into the outer wall of the main road on lap 84 to display the only warning flag and set up a restart with 22 laps remaining.

At the restart, Mexican Pato O’Ward crashed into Power and blocked Dixon in the sharp first right-hander. Race officials forced O’Ward to allow Dixon to pass him for third place for the infraction.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.