McLaughlin column: Relishing the greatest challenge
Tuesday 22nd June, 2021 - 8:53am
Scott McLaughlin looks back on his latest IndyCar Series outing at Road America in this week’s edition of his exclusive Hired Gun column for Speedcafe.com, presented by Grove Hire.
Have you ever done something really, really difficult – and early on felt like you were bashing your head against a brick wall and getting nowhere but loving every second of it?
Ha! Me too! That was my weekend at Road America.
After the miserable weekend last week at Detroit – I was desperate to make amends at Wisconsin.
I had high hopes after testing at the track a couple of weeks ago – so was feeling good about things – but I won’t lie, my confidence had taken a bit of a hit after Belle Isle.
I think if you’re reading this – you know just how damn competitive the 2021 IndyCar championship is this season.
It’s so hard. It’s so brutal. It’s SO even.
If you’re off – you are at the back – guaranteed.
If you’re on – you could post a great time and feel good – and still be 16th.
So right now – it’s taking small steps.
Right now, it’s being satisfied with increments that I’m normally not happy with – but at the moment, that’s what I have to be content with.
We’re getting there.
But don’t get me wrong – I’m still loving the challenge. And that’s what it is – the greatest challenge right now of my career.
So to the weekend – Saturday’s qualifying was disappointing.
I wanted way better than 17th. But again, it wasn’t a bad lap. I gave it everything – so was flat to be on the ninth row.
For Sunday’s race – we almost shelved thoughts of a top 10 – again it’s baby steps right now.
We were aiming, best case scenario at maybe 11th.
And we finished 14th.
I feel like I’m back in school with the amount of homework I’m cramming in right now.
There’s so much to get right – there’s so much to think of – there’s so much I have to work on, but I am confident we’re getting there.
I just have to learn to put myself in better positions – to keep working on my race craft – to know when to be harder, and know when to take a chill pill (which doesn’t come naturally for a racer) – it’s a work in progress!
Each step I’m loving (maybe last week not so much) – but it’s brutal and satisfying and enjoyable all at the same time – which is kinda weird, right!?!
Up the front I was so bummed for my team-mate Josef and his #2 crew – they dominated the weekend and deserved better than to have the win taken from them like they had at the end.
So I’m 12th in the standings, one spot behind Will – who grabbed the final spot on the podium on Sunday.
We have a week off now to gather our thoughts and do a little more cramming – then we’re back racing Mid-Ohio on the fourth of July – which will be a cool weekend to be running.
Hope you’re all enjoying the ride.
We’ll get there guys – and it’ll be sweet when it happens.
Thanks everyone for the support,
P.s. Congrats to the Shell V-Power team back home – loved seeing Will and Anton sweep the weekend’s poles at Darwin. With each weekend together you can see they’re getting better and better – which is awesome to see.