Polesitter Scott McLaughlin of Team Penske took the checkered flag in the First Responder 175 presented by GMR, the final race of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon. It was McLaughlin’s second victory of the six-race season, and it came after the multi-time defending Supercars champion entered the final lap on the edge of the top five.
The 33-car field saw McLaughlin lead them to green, but it was McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris and rallycross star Scott Speed who would trade the lead three times in the first four laps before Speed made it stick on Lap 4. Both would lead significant portions of the event, though Will Power’s 21 laps led topped the count for the 12 drivers that crossed the stripe first on any given lap.
Just three cautions slowed the pace, although incidents eliminated fast drivers like Sage Karam, Graham Rahal, and Simon Pagenaud from possibly contending for the win. The last few laps, however, would be defined by chaos, as Arrow McLaren SP went from having three cars at the front of the pack with a handful of laps to go to having all three of their chances at an Indy win wind up in the catchfence.
Norris led from Laps 63 to 67 before running into the back of a slowing Pagenaud coming out of Turn 4. Teammates Oliver Askew and Pato O’Ward would then inherit the top two spots, but Marcus Ericsson would make a daring pass of both on the inside going into Turn 3 on the final lap. When O’Ward tried to return the favor in Turn 4, both cars made contact and slid into the outside wall, narrowly missing Askew, Santino Ferrucci, and the rest of the field.
With the finish line in their sights, Askew and Ferrucci would drag race to the finish line. When Askew attempted to block, Ferrucci made contact with Askew’s left rear, and both careened into the wall, giving up sure first and second place finishes in the process. As a result, McLaughlin, who had only led one other lap all day, managed to lead the most important one. Carlin’s Conor Daly followed him home in second.
Click here for results from the IndyCar iRacing Challenge First Responder 175 presented by GMR.
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