McLaughlin’s ‘very nice’ gesture to Castroneves

Scott McLaughlin

Former Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves has applauded Scott McLaughlin for “a very nice” gesture ahead of this year’s Indianapolis 500.

The forthcoming IndyCar Series season marks McLaughlin’s first full-time campaign with Team Penske, which will see him carry #3 aboard his Dallara IR-18.

He’ll also sport the famed yellow, black, and red Pennzoil paint scheme in this year’s 200-lap race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

McLaughlin’s arrival marks a changing of the guard at Team Penske.

Brazil’s Castroneves became synonymous with the #3 having run it for the lion’s share of his 20-year career in the IndyCar Series.

Pennzoil was prominent late in his full-time career, often donning the livery dubbed the Yellow Submarine.

Having contested every Indianapolis 500 with Team Penske since 2001, taking three wins (2001, 2002, 2009) along the way, the 45-year-old has made the move to Meyer Shank Racing.

Now it’s McLaughlin’s turn to continue a long line of big-name drivers to have piloted an IndyCar in the iconic Pennzoil colours, though not before touching base with Castroneves.

“It’s weird, let’s face it, it’s weird,” Castroneves said of seeing his former colour scheme on track.

“You spend so many years with a car, number three, then all of a sudden, that car is right there. It’s kind of weird.

“Scott has been a very, very nice guy. Especially with these colours. He texted me, ‘Hey, what an honour to be wearing your number and wearing your colours and continue the tradition’.

“He’s been very nice. It will be great. He will do great. He seems to be right on his great team-mates. He will have no issue. It will be fun.

Meyer Shank Racing driver Helio Castroneves

For McLaughlin, the message to Castroneves was the right thing to do.

The 27-year-old said he’s eager to add to the history of the iconic livery, which is synonymous with his coach Rick Mears who won two Indianapolis 500 races in the Yellow Submarine.

“It’s all part of it,” McLaughlin explained.

“I know the legacy that’s been left for me. I’m not trying to fill in anyone’s shoes. I’m trying to create my own.

“A lot of people have said, ‘That’s Helio’s car, that’s Rick’s car’, all that sort of stuff and I understand that. And that’s why I’m just trying to get and understand and tell these guys, these legends, that I know that and I’m here to create my own legacy.

“If I can do that with Pennzoil and start the trend as a rookie, that’d be fantastic. I’ve got a lot to learn, but I can lean on the right people and if I ever do the same things that Helio did in this car, or in the legacy of Team Penske across 20 years, I’d be a very proud man.”

Castroneves was 10th fastest in the official Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway while McLaughlin was 18th.

The 2021 IndyCar Series gets underway at Barber Motorsports Park across April 17-18.

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