Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin in the No.3 DEX Imaging Chevrolet took his first career victory in the NTT IndyCar Series at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding here on Sunday.
The New Zealander had a fast charging Alex Palou behind him in the closing stages of the race.
Speaking following the race he was asked:
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, NO. 3 DEX IMAGING CHEVROLET, TEAM PENSKE – RACE WINNER:
“This unbelievable. Thank you to Roger Penske and everyone who put their faith in me… DEX Energy for jumping on board and trusting me, and Roger Penske and Tim Cindric giving me the opportunity to come here. I miss my mom and dad dearly and my family… I wish you guys were here.
LATE-RACE FIGHT WITH ALEX PALOU:
“It was crazy. I really struggled those last couple laps to keep my head to save fuel and all that stuff. We did it. Chevy gave us the fuel mileage. The drivability this weekend has been a big change. To win DEX Imaging’s home race is unreal. I love you Australia and New Zealand. I miss you guys and thinking of all you guys in the Queensland with all the floods at the moment. I just can’t believe this!”
MORE ON THE RACE:
“These are great fans. We have great sponsors like DEX Imaging and Chevy to help us along the way. The trust of everyone in me really kept me going, including my wife. My wife has been the absolute backbone of everything and kept the belief in me. She’s a gem.”
YOUR PREVIOUS BEST RESULT ON A STREET COURSE WAS 11TTTH. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE FROM ONE YEAR TO THE NEXT?
“I was worried about my average so I had to come out and win! I’m just very proud. We put a lot of hard work in – not just me but all these guys on pit stop practice, engineering from Ben (Brentzman) to make me good to give me a car that I like. I’m just pleased.”
WHAT HAS ROGER PENSKE’S SUPPORT MEAN?
“He was the one who calmed me down last year. He’s the one who said that it’s a long story and not a short one. To pay back that faith and prove the trust he put in me is a very proud moment.”
YOU WON SO MUCH IN SUPERCARS BUT DIDN’T LAST YEAR. WAS THERE DOUBT?
“There’s always a little bit of doubt. But you know you can do it deep down. Everyone was asking how I was going to go at the start today, and I was like, ‘I’ve led a few races from the start. I just didn’t do rolling starts.’ It’s all about going back to what I know. I knew I could do it. It’s all about belief. To anyone out there, you can do whatever you want. You just have to have belief in yourself and get it done.”
The next race of the season is at Texas Motor Speedway on March 20, the first oval race of the year where last season, McLaughlin finished the race on the podium in