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McLaughlin, Power Push Penske To 1-2 Finish In Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - In a turbulent week for Team Penske, Scott McLaughlin helped deliver a 1-2 finish for the Captain’s organization in the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix at Barber Motorsports Park. 


Following disqualifications for unauthorized push-to-pass usage from the NTT IndyCar Series season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete, all eyes were on Roger Penske and his three drivers as the motorsports world wondered how they would respond.


The response came in a 1-2 finish, with Mclaughlin getting back-to-back victories at Barber as teammate Will Power finished second. McLaughlin’s No. 3 Good Ranchers Chevrolet dominated from the start, rolling off the grid from pole, leading 58 of 90 laps and cruising into Victory Lane for a Grand Slam performance in the "Meat Wagon."


"The Good Ranchers Chevy was so good," McLaughlin said. "A couple of yellows didn’t fall our way, but we just showed our pace. Super proud of everyone. Let’s just keep rolling. Just execution, that’s our word. It’s a good one (in discussing the win). It’s definitely one of our best drives in terms of executions and knocking out the laps. Really happy we advanced to the checkered flag there and bring home a W for Team Penske and Roger."


Meanwhile, Power was hot on the heels of his Penske stablemate all weekend. Starting alongside McLaughlin on the front row, the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet could not get past his teammate on a late-race restart and settled for second place.


After scoring his 100th career podium in IndyCar competition, this pushed Power up to second in the championship standings behind points leader Colton Herta. The 43-year-old Aussie driver feels like he is back in championship form to go after another Astor Cup. 


"I would say after this week, I think Roger would be pretty happy," Power said. "I feel like if we’ll be like this every weekend, I think we’ll have a shot if we get it right."


As one driver hits a milestone podium finish, another driver's first comes, in the form of Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Linus Lundqvist. In his sixth career IndyCar start, the rookie battled his way back from 19th place, passing three cars in three laps in the closing stages of the race and making him this weekend’s biggest mover. 


"It was amazing," Lundqvist said. "I think for the first time ever, I was not on the same fuel strategy. I was not the one being passed which was nice."


Outside The Podium

It looked like a maiden victory was in the cards for Santino Ferrucci. The driver of the No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet led 14 laps in Alabama. However, the team’s alternate strategy kept them out of contention late in the race. 


Ferrucci still managed to get a seventh-place finish for AJ Foyt Racing, which seems to benefit from the new alliance with Team Penske.


"Solid day for us at AJ Foyt Racing," Ferrucci said. "Man, we had a fast Sexton Properties Chevrolet. Got all the way up to the lead, strategy was phenomenal. It feels really good to come off of Long Beach where we had missed everything on the strat side, and then nail it today. If it weren’t for the late caution at the end, we would’ve had a nice top five."


On the other hand, Arrow McLaren experienced more woes as all three of the team’s entries finished outside of the top 20. After a strong performance in his IndyCar debut last weekend in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, Theo Pourchaire struggled on the 2.38-mile Alabama road course. 


Pato O’Ward got pushed to the back of the field, following contact with Pietro Fittipaldi early in the race. Meanwhile, Alexander Rossi was running comfortably in the top 10, however, a poor pit stop had him lose a tire coming out of the pits on Lap 44. The team finished 22nd, 23rd and 25th respectively


Meyer Shank Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist had a solid day as the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda started fifth and stayed at the sharp end all day, coming home in fourth. The Swede currently sits fifth in the championship standings.


Consistency has been key for Andretti Autosport and Colton Herta to kick off the 2024 season. Following podiums at St. Pete and Long Beach, Herta still managed a top-10 finish at Barber, putting the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda across the line in eighth. A silent weekend from Scott Dixon (15th-place finish) means that Herta now leads the championship, just one point up over Will Power.


The race had a very memorable moment when a mannequin named "Georgina" fell onto the track from the pedestrian bridge. Then, the mannequin's hand was torn off by the No. 51 Dale Coyne Racing Honda of Luca Ghiotto, who made his IndyCar debut and was the latest driver with Formula 2 experience to test out American open-wheel racing.

Arrow McLaren, David Malukas Part Ways

On the morning after the Children's of Alabama Indy Grand Prix, Arrow McLaren parted ways with David Malukas, who did not get to drive a single race with the team.


With no confirmed return date after injuring his left wrist in a mountain biking accident, the team decided to move on by releasing Malukas for the remainder of the 2024 season.


"The past three months have been challenging," Malukas said. "I felt privileged to have had the opportunity to drive for Arrow McLaren and regret that it never materialized. I would have loved to have continued representing the team and its partners going forward. They have been good, and I appreciate all they have done for me. 


"I’ve done everything possible to speed up the rehab process—treatments, physiotherapy, strength training—but my recovery has taken longer than anticipated. Every injury is different, and everybody heals at a different pace. I’ll turn my full attention to getting back to 100 percent and then prove that I am ready and able to compete to win."


GRID Ranking

The 2024 GRID Ranking is the eighth year of the world's premier motorsport ranking and was initially released on Sunday, April 7.


The official ranking includes drivers that participate in seven racing series (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP), and each driver earns GRID Ratings, which help determine their seeding in the GRID Ranking.


GRID Ranking Week 4 INDYCAR Drivers:

DRIVER

OLD RATING

PREVIOUS RANKING

MOST RECENT FINISH

NEW RATING

NEW RANKING

Will Power

15.66

11th

2nd

16.92

5th

Alex Palou

17.28

8th

5th

16.20

6th

Colton Herta

18.36

6th

8th

15.12

11th

Scott Dixon

19.44

4th

15th

12.96

15th

Scott McLaughlin

N/A

N/A

1st

10.44

25th

The NTT IndyCar Series is “Back Home Again In Indiana” in two weeks, with a return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. Coverage of the Sonsio Grand Prix begins on Saturday, May 11, at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.


Results: 2024 Children's of Alabama Indy Grand Prix

2024 Children's of Alabama Indy Grand Prix Results.

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