Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin played his race strategy perfectly to take the checkered flag in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, the second round of the six-race IndyCar iRacing Challenge from Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday. After pitting before anyone else, McLaughlin took the top spot after the rest of the field pit at the competition caution and led a large portion of the race before taking the checkered flag over Team Penske teammate Will Power.
An extra week of practice for returning drivers, a handful of newcomers, and the Lap 15 yellow flag completely changed the complexion of this weekend’s race compared to the season opener from Watkins Glen International. Initially, polesitter Sage Karam looked to make it two for two with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, but he struggled with lapped traffic, made contact with fellow front runner Felix Rosenqvist on Lap 27, and eventually suffered too much damage to continue.
McLaughlin, meanwhile, gambled as the first driver to pit in the early stages of the race. After making his second pit stop, he regained the lead from Andretti Autosport’s Scott Speed in the closing laps of the race. With just a few laps left, McLaughlin had to deal with the pressure of both Power in his mirrors and a number of lapped cars—including five-time IndyCar champion and fellow Kiwi Scott Dixon—to score the checkered flag.
Compared to last week, when seven drivers finished on the lead lap, the count doubled to 14 at race’s end from Barber. Those lead-lap finishers included Robert Wickens, who made his triumphant return to IndyCar and ran in the top five for Arrow McLaren SP before settling in for eighth, and Jimmie Johnson, who came home 12th in his second start.
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Results
Full results from Saturday’s IndyCar iRacing Challenge event at Barber Motorsports Park are as follows:
|1||8||2||Scott T McLaughlin||Team Penske||Chevrolet||45||12||1:06.992|
|2||2||12||Will Power||Team Penske||Chevrolet||45||0||-0.418||1:06.867|
|3||6||98||Scott Speed||Andretti Autosport||Honda||45||8||-13.93||1:07.488|
|4||4||55||Alex Palou||Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh||Honda||45||0||-14.364||1:07.066|
|5||5||22||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||Chevrolet||45||0||-14.626||1:07.054|
|6||3||10||Felix Rosenqvist||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||45||1||-14.691||1:06.721|
|7||12||88||Colton Herta||Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport||Honda||45||0||-23.744||1:07.446|
|8||29||6||Robert Wickens||Arrow McLaren SP||Chevrolet||45||0||-45.831||1:08.176|
|9||7||1||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Chevrolet||45||0||-48.468||1:06.755|
|10||24||18||Santino Ferrucci||Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan||Honda||45||0||-55.004||1:08.207|
|11||20||41||Dalton Kellett||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Chevrolet||45||0||-55.779||1:08.051|
|12||22||48||Jimmie Johnson||Jimmie Johnson Racing||Chevrolet||45||0||-1:00.484||1:08.016|
|13||28||4||Sebastien Bourdais||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Chevrolet||45||0||-1:02.294||1:07.780|
|14||10||15||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Honda||45||0||-1:05.928||1:07.335|
|15||9||7||Oliver Askew||Arrow McLaren SP||Chevrolet||44||0||-1 L||1:07.324|
|16||16||9||Scott R Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||44||0||-1 L||1:07.810|
|17||19||29||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport||Honda||44||0||-1 L||1:08.088|
|18||27||21||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevrolet||44||0||-1 L||1:08.815|
|19||23||26||Zach Veach||Andretti Autosport||Honda||44||0||-1 L||1:07.866|
|20||15||28||Kyle Kirkwood||Andretti Autosport||Honda||44||0||-1 L||1:07.978|
|21||21||11||Kyle Kaiser||Juncos Racing||Chevrolet||44||0||-1 L||1:08.294|
|22||13||27||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Honda||43||0||-2 L||1:08.031|
|23||26||20||Conor Daly||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevrolet||43||0||-2 L||1:08.828|
|24||17||5||Patricio OWard||Arrow McLaren SP||Chevrolet||38||0||-7 L||1:07.765|
|25||14||8||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||31||0||-14 L||1:07.568|
|26||25||14||Tony Kanaan||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Chevrolet||29||0||-16 L||1:08.843|
|27||1||24||Sage Karam||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||Chevrolet||29||24||-16 L||1:06.841|
|28||18||60||Jack Harvey||Meyer Shank Racing||Honda||27||0||-18 L||1:09.380|
|29||11||59||Felipe Nasr||Carlin||Chevrolet||18||0||-27 L||1:09.228|
The IndyCar iRacing Challenge resumes on Saturday, April 11 from Michigan International Speedway, the driver’s choice track and the first oval on the schedule. Once again, the event can be seen live on NBCSN. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.