McLaughlin vows to learn from last-lap Texas IndyCar defeat

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin has vowed to learn after another a first IndyCar oval win slipped from his grasp in the last corner of the Texas race.

The New Zealander led 186 out of the 248 laps at Texas Motor Speedway, including the majority of the last stint, but got held up by traffic in the form of David Malukas on the final lap.

That allowed Penske team-mate Josef Newgarden to pounce with a bold outside move as they rounded Turn 4, and he would beat Car #3 to the finish line by 0.0669s.

McLaughlin described finishing second as “a great day” but was nevertheless “gutted” to come up just short of a landmark victory, only one race after he had won for the first time in IndyCar at all.

“[Traffic] was always going to play some sort of a part – it’s just oval racing – but I think at the end of the day, my car wasn’t probably as good as it had been in traffic the whole race,” said McLaughlin post-race on NBC.

“I knew I was building push, I was building tightness, and once he sort of got a wing on me on the outside there, I couldn’t come up and block the line; I was sort of stuck.

“I thought of going outside of Malukas at the end there, but I was worried that I would push up into the grey, into the fence, so you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t.

“I’ll learn from this, I’ll grow from this, and just get on with it, but I thought we put on a really good race.”

Asked if he would have blocked had the overtaking car not been another Team Penske Chevrolet, McLaughlin responded, “I don’t know.

“I mean, for sure, probably next time, think about it,” he added.

“But, things are happening in a split-second; I’m a human, I’ve got to learn it, and it’s the first opportunity me leading a race at the end with a guy up my backside.

“I don’t know, but I’m a clean driver; just didn’t do it today.

“Unfortunately, that’s how it is.”

Coincidentally, the three-time Supercars champion’s best IndyCar race result until three weeks ago had been a somewhat fortuitous second place at Texas last year, in his rookie season.

The mood this time around was a considerable contrast to then, McLaughlin remarking, “That’s part of the development, and we’re going to keep getting stronger, and I’ve got a lot more to learn.”

The 28-year-old continues to lead the IndyCar Series, with Will Power 28 points back in what is now a Team Penske one-two.

Long Beach is next on the calendar on April 8-10 (local time), with that race to be streamed live and ad-free on Stan Sport.

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