POLL: Will McLaughlin win an IndyCar race in 2021?
Monday 3rd May, 2021 - 2:20pm
In this week’s Pirtek Poll we want to know whether you think Scott McLaughlin will win an IndyCar Series race in his rookie year.
The Kiwi fell just 0.2s shy of race winner Scott Dixon, who relished the opportunity to race his countryman.
The breakthrough podium comes just four races into McLaughlin’s fledgling IndyCar Series career with Team Penske.
If he wins in 2021, the 27-year-old would add his name to an illustrious list of drivers to have claimed a victory in their debut season.
In the past 10 years, the feat has only been achieved by three drivers.
Colombian Carlos Huertas won on the streets of Houston in 2014 in what was just his ninth race in the series for Dale Coyne Racing.
In only his sixth IndyCar Series start, Alexander Rossi famously won his first Indianapolis 500 in 2016 for Bryan Herta Autosports.
Herta’s son Colton won twice in his rookie season in 2019 with Harding Steinbrenner Racing.
The first of those came in his third career start at Circuit of The Americas. Later that year, Herta won the season finale at Laguna Seca.
In the IRL and CART era that preceded IndyCar in its current guise, there have been several high-profile rookie winners.
Those include the likes of Bobby Rahal (1982), Teo Fabi (1983), Nigel Mansell (1993), Jacques Villeneuve (1994), Alex Zanardi (1996), Juan Pablo Montoya (1999), Scott Dixon (2001), Sébastien Bourdais (2003), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2003), Marco Andretti (2006), Graham Rahal (2008), and the late Justin Wilson (2008).
Since the inception of North American open-wheel racing in the early 1900s, there have been a total of 40 drivers who have won in their rookie year.
In recent years, the IndyCar Series has seen a surge in podiums for rookies.
Last year rookie trio Rinus VeeKay, Alex Palou, and Oliver Askew claimed podium finishes at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (road course), Road America, and Iowa Speedway respectively.
In the year that Herta claimed his two rookie wins, Felix Rosenqvist scored two second place finishes at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Portland International Raceway.
Ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson claimed second on the streets of Detroit in 2019 too.
In recent years, the likes of Robert Wickens (2018), Ed Jones (2017), Connor Daly (2016), and Sage Karam (2015) have claimed podiums in their respective debut seasons.
McLaughlin has already made history as a rookie podium placer, but will the Kiwi claim victory in his first IndyCar Series season?
Cast your vote in this week’s Pirtek Poll below.