McLaughlin no longer ‘flipping out’ in Texas traffic

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin is feeling comfortable about the idea of racing in traffic at Texas Motor Speedway ahead of his front row start for Race 2 of the 2022 IndyCar Series.

McLaughlin got his best result of his rookie 2021 season at the Fort Worth circuit, although that was a somewhat fortuitous second placing in the first race of a double-header last year.

The Team Penske driver returned to Texas this weekend as the series leader after a breakthrough victory on the streets of St Petersburg, and has now missed out on a second consecutive pole by just 0.014mph (0.023km/h) to McLaren SP’s Felix Rosenqvist.

However, McLaughlin is confident not just about his qualifying pace, but also how he will fare in Sunday’s (local time) 248-lap race, given he no longer ‘flips out’ when in a pack.

“I’m going to each track and just, I know what I did last year, but at the same time this is a new downforce package, all that sort of stuff,” he explained.

“I’m just taking it in that, hey, I’ve got race experience – two race experiences here – that can really bode me well for when I head out tomorrow.

“Last week [testing], we had five cars on-track, and that was a bit busy, and then today [in practice 1], we had 27, and it was madness.

“It was like LA traffic and it was crazy out there.

“Certainly for me as a rookie last year, I probably would have flipped out a little bit and gone, ‘Well, this is crazy.’

“But today, I just felt pretty comfortable and just picked my spots and got going.”

Furthermore, the New Zealander feels that the #3 Team Penske Chevrolet can also be potent in race runs.

“To be on the XPEL car, on the front row of their home race is certainly god job security for me,” he quipped.

“But certainly, [I] feel pretty strong both in race trim and qual trim, and our test day last week really helped us hone in on some of the balance that we wanted.

“But Felix’s lap was really strong. From the outset, I knew that was going to be pretty tough, but to be close to him and not far off, it was a testament to us and how we were able to react to the temperatures and a few other things.

“[I am] Pretty happy just to put a time on the board.”

All three Team Penske cars made the top 10, with Queenslander Will Power set to start directly behind McLaughlin on the outside of the second row, and Josef Newgarden from seventh on the grid.

Power will be one of seven drivers to partake in a special session later this morning (AEDT) which is intended to rubber in the top lane of the track, with final practice pushed back to 08:45 AEDT.

Race start is scheduled for Monday at 03:45 AEDT, with live and ad-free streaming on Stan Sport from 03:30 AEDT.

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