Scott McLaughlin signs a multi-year extension with Penske upon entry into IndyCar season finale

Scott McLaughlin Penske perennial

Scott McLaughlin Penske perennial

MONTEREY, Calif. — IndyCar newcomer Scott McLaughlin is here to remain with Team Penske on a multi-year contract extension as the New Zealander embarks on his first championship race since joining the series.

The extension announced on Wednesday is the third in a month to be awarded by Roger Penske, who also recently renewed the contracts of NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano.

McLaughlin, who was last year’s IndyCar Rookie of the Year in a class that included Romain Grosjean and Jimmie Johnson, mathematically heads into Sunday’s season finale to chase the title. His win last week in Portland was his third of the season and put him in fifth place overall, 41 points behind teammate and IndyCar leader Will Power.

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McLaughlin moved to IndyCar after winning three consecutive titles for Penske in Australian V8 Supercars. The 29-year-old assumed Penske would bring him to NASCAR, but instead he was put on for IndyCar.

“It was really a bit risky for him to say, ‘Hey, let’s jump over and drive an IndyCar.’ I think he probably felt more confident doing something with the roof over his head,” said Penske team president Tim Cindric. “But he was definitely drawn to racing in America and really hadn’t thought too much about IndyCar until we spoke to him about how he thought that transition might go.

“Having spent so much time with him in Australia I felt like he had the ingredients to really drive any type of racing car and be successful,” added Cindric. “I think everyone really saw what we saw in him winning the three Supercar titles for us.”

McLaughlin first joined Team Penske in 2017 and finished second in the Supercars Championship with eight straight wins and a record 16 poles. He won three consecutive titles from 2019-2020 and won 40 races over a four-year period, including a streak record 18 wins in 2019.

McLaughlin also gave Penske his first win at the prestigious Bathurst 1000 when he won from pole in 2019.

He came to IndyCar with nothing left to achieve in supercars and showed steady improvement over the past season, then clinched his first career win in this year’s opener. His second win was at Mid-Ohio in July and he dominated last Sunday in Portland by leading all but six of the 110 laps.

“Team Penske has been such a big part of my career and has helped me get to where I am today. So I’m looking forward to continuing to race with Roger, Tim and the whole team,” said McLaughlin. “Getting the opportunity to move to the United States and pursue my racing dream of driving in the IndyCar Series would not have been possible without Team Penske, so I am forever grateful.

“We compete at a high level, win races and poles and even fight for the series championship. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Team Penske.”

McLaughlin will battle teammates Power and Josef Newgarden and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson for the title at Laguna Seca Raceway on Sunday. It’s the closest championship race since 2003.

Scott McLaughlin signs a multi-year extension with Penske upon entry into IndyCar season finale originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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