McLaughlin dominates in Portland as Power heads to finale with points lead


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His 1.1-second margin of victory didn’t show it, but Scott McLaughlin drove a dominant race to win the IndyCar Grand Prix of Portland from pole position.

The only time McLaughlin ceded the top spot during the 110-lap race was during green flag pit stops. Otherwise, he led a total of 104 laps on the day, benefitting from prime track position around the tight and technical Portland International Raceway – as well as the quick work of his Penske pit crew.

McLaughlin’s third win of his breakthrough sophomore season ensures he retains an outside chance of winning the IndyCar championship next weekend at Laguna Seca.

While McLaughlin did what he needed to do to keep his championship hopes alive, they remain remote because points leader Will Power also did what he needed to do in order to move closer to the title. Power converted second on the grid to second at the flag and extended his lead in the standings to 20 points.

Power just needs to finish on the podium next Sunday at Laguna Seca Raceway to guarantee his second IndyCar title, his first since 2014.

Starting on the primary compound tyres, Scott Dixon clawed his way from 16th on the grid after a lacklustre qualifying effort to stand on the podium. He finished the race on a fresh set of alternate compound tyres, and after the race’s lone full-course caution, made a fantastic restart that put him in the window for a strong result.

Pato O’Ward converted a similar strategy into fourth place, but the McLaren SP driver’s championship pursuit is over. Also eliminated from contention is the 2021 champion, Álex Palou, who finished 12th and had difficulty moving up the order – especially after finishing the race on the harder, primary compound tyres.

Graham Rahal finished fifth, recording his best result since Toronto. Amid a new, strong wave of speculation about a future in Formula 1, Colton Herta finished in sixth place, bringing him up to eighth in the championship. F1’s most recent American racer, Alexander Rossi, finished in seventh in his penultimate race for Andretti Autosport.

If Josef Newgarden cannot overcome his 20-point deficit to Power at Laguna Seca, he may well regret the decision to finish the race on the primary tyres on his final pit stop. Newgarden was running a comfortable fourth place even after his pit stop. But after the late-race caution caused when Rinus VeeKay pushed Jimmie Johnson into the wall at turn one, Newgarden – already at a tyre disadvantage to those around him – sank through the order on the ensuing restart, eventually consolidating eighth place.

Newgarden and Dixon are level on 503 points each, 20 behind Power, with Newgarden ahead by way of his five wins this season.

Callum Ilott recorded his second career top-ten finish in ninth, while Felix Rosenqvist completed the top ten, ahead of Marcus Ericsson – who moved up from 18th to 11th. Ericsson is now 39 points behind points leader Power, and McLaughlin is 41 points back.

There was also a dramatic late-race development in the Rookie of the Year battle between Christian Lundgaard and David Malukas. Lundgaard ran inside the top ten all afternoon, but after an ill-fated lunge up the inside of Rossi at turn one, he collected a trackside advertising hoarding and had to pit so his RLL team could remove it.

That dropped Lundgaard to 21st, with Malukas in 14th. The two drivers are now separated by just five points headed into the finale at Laguna Seca Raceway next weekend.

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Grand Prix of Portland results

13Scott McLaughlinPenskeChevrolet
212Will PowerPenskeChevrolet
39Scott DixonGanassiHonda
45Pato O’WardMcLaren SPChevrolet
515Graham RahalRLLHonda
626Colton HertaAndrettiHonda
727Alexander RossiAndrettiHonda
82Josef NewgardenPenskeChevrolet
977Callum IlottJuncos HollingerChevrolet
107Felix RosenqvistMcLaren SPChevrolet
118Marcus EricssonGanassiHonda
1210Alex PalouGanassiHonda
1314Kyle KirkwoodFoytChevrolet
1418David MalukasCoyne/HMDHonda
1545Jack HarveyRLLHonda
1629Devlin DeFrancescoAndretti SteinbrennerHonda
176Helio CastronevesMeyer ShankHonda
1851Takuma SatoCoyne/RWRHonda
1928Romain GrosjeanAndrettiHonda
2021Rinus VeeKayCarpenterChevrolet
2130Christian LundgaardRLLHonda
224Dalton KellettFoytChevrolet
2360Simon PagenaudMeyer ShankHonda
2448Jimmie JohnsonGanassiHonda
2520Conor DalyCarpenterChevrolet

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Author information

RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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8 comments on “McLaughlin dominates in Portland as Power heads to finale with points lead”

  1. Ignoring bonus points, the basic scenarios for the contenders are as follows:

    Power, finish 4th or higher.

    Dixon/Newgarden, win and Power finishes 5th or lower, must finish at least 7th.

    Ericsson, must win and Power finishes 19th or lower and Dixon and Newgarden finish 5th or lower.

    McLauglin, must win and Power finishes 21st or lower and Dixon and Newgarden finish 6th or lower.

  2. I just did a bit of recounting to see what the top 7 positions would look like if Indy was scored the same as every other round (and not double points and extra qualie points).

    Certainly would have brought 2,3,4th closer together with Scott Dixon fighting a trio of Penske drivers.

    1. Will Power ………… 507
    2. Josef Newgarden .. 486 (-21)
    3. Scott Dixon ………. 482 (-25)
    4. Scott McLaughlin .. 477 (-30)
    5. Alex Palou ……….. 434 (-73)
    6. Marcus Ericsson … 426 (-81)
    7. Pato O’Ward …….. 410 (-97)

  3. What is going on with Romain Grosjean?

    1. Andretti Autosport having an off year.

      Herta, the one RBR/AT wants, is Andretti’s top points driver right now, and is only in 8th place (including a DNF at double points Indy 500).

      1. Also including Herta’s gearbox failure from the lead in second indy road race and Ferrari-like strategy call in Mid-Ohio that dropped him from 3rd to last…

  4. That was the worst case of eSportitis overtaking from Rinus VK, poor #48.
    That being said, Jimmie, just…stop. Don’t try, you just can’t teach 30 years of instinct out of your spine. You gave it a go, good for you.

    1. @uneedafinn2win It was I agree a pretty terrible move, he would have easily made the corner if he kept the same line, but the championship implications were serious. Dixon gained at least 3 places as a result at the restart and Newgarden lost 4. Not sure what the exact points swing is due to that but it has made Power’s life a little more comfortable at Laguna Seca.

  5. I’d rather Scott McLaughlin in F1 than Herta by a country mile. Scott McLaughlin is a proven Indy race winner and a champion from V8 Supercars.

    Dixon > Hamilton

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