McLaughlin’s debrief: One costly misstep at Toronto

Scott McLaughlin gives his honest take on the Toronto IndyCar weekend in his exclusive Hired Gun column for Speedcafe.com.

Scott McLaughlin. Picture: Twitter

Hi folks,

I think some days I sound like a broken record on this.

But this series is so competitive, it’s so brutal, it’s so manic and wild and crazy, and it’s such a game of inches.

And if you’re an inch out – it can really spoil your day.

Which is how our Sunday in Canada played out.

Up to the final restart we were having a brilliant weekend on our first ever visit to the famous Toronto street circuit.

We were on the pace from the outset on Friday and made it through to the final six in qualifying on Saturday.

So we were really optimistic of a good Sunday showing – and that’s exactly how we were placed.

We started sixth, and we ran fifth for a large chunk, before moving forward to fourth.

At what became the final Caution, I was even eyeing off a podium – until Graham Rahal got us at the restart.

Scott McLaughlin. Picture: Twitter

I know some of you thought Rahal hip and shouldered us – but the move was legit.

I was just asleep.

It was a good move that I wish I had made myself!

But what it did do was push us off the racing line into the marbles and I was unfortunately just a sitting duck as we got leapfrogged by a bunch.

From fourth we slipped to ninth and that’s where we ended up.

So I was satisfied to get some decent points, but a little bummed with how things played out towards the end.

Again this sport – you HAVE to be at the top of your game for every moment, or you get what we got at the restart.

It’s draining and taxing and punishing – but it’s why our sport is the best in the world right now, in my opinion.

And I guess it just goes to show how far we’ve come as a team, and me as an individual over here that we are getting angry with good finishes. 

Last year I would have cut off a leg to make the final six in qualifying – and yet a year on, we did that again this weekend. 

But we were slightly disappointed Saturday night not to be higher than the third row.

Ditto with Sunday.

Ninth is OK.

But we always want more.

So we qualified sixth, finished ninth and remain seventh in the standings.

Up the front it was great to see Scott Dixon get the win – his 52nd victory equalling the legendary Mario Andretti.

It’s a ‘pinch me’ moment really – I don’t mind admitting I grew up idolising Scotty as a fellow Kiwi, and the fact we’re now mates and rivals is something that still blows my mind. 

In the end it was a tough day for all three Penske entrants – but the good news is we have a short week before we’re back racing again. 

Next weekend [July 22-24, local time] we have a double-header at Iowa – which I’m really looking forward to.

Feature races on consecutive days is something I’m used to having done it for so long in Supercars, and we tested at Iowa last month and it was a really positive day.

There’s a stack of points up for grabs, so it will be a pivotal weekend for the title fight and what’s to come.

And the forecast is a scorcher – absolutely stinking hot, so bring on the oval!

Thanks for the support,

Scotty 

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