No. 3 Pennzoil Dallara/Chevrolet – Scott McLaughlin
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 9th (-105 pts)
Scott McLaughlin didn’t secure the finish he wanted behind the wheel of the No. 3 Pennzoil Chevrolet in his maiden Indy 500 drive, but the New Zealand-native posted a 20th-place finish as he earned Rookie of the Year honors for the 2021 Indianapolis 500.
After qualifying 17th, McLaughlin jumped to the outside of the field at the drop of the green as he looked to gain several positions. Early on, McLaughlin reported that the No. 3 Chevy needed more front grip and turn. After making a front wing adjustment, McLaughlin said the Pennzoil Chevrolet was “really racy.”
A caution as the first pit window opened changed the early complexion of the race as multiple cars pitted under a closed pit and had to serve penalties. McLaughlin was able to make it to pit road once it was open to competitors and he picked up several positions, eventually restarting in ninth place.
During the second round of pit stops, McLaughlin lost a little time on pit road as he fell to 12th in the running order. After some encouragement from the team, McLaughlin was ready to make up the ground lost on his next stop. Unfortunately, the Pennzoil Chevrolet was too fast entering the pits and McLaughlin was forced to serve a drive through penalty. A quick caution flag allowed McLaughlin to remain on the lead lap, but he still fell to 30th in the running order.
Following the penalty, the No. 3 team focused on fuel strategy to make up positions on the track. The caution flag that McLaughlin needed to gain ground never materialized as he brought the Pennzoil Chevrolet home in the 20th position. McLaughlin captured the top rookie honors in the race with Sunday’s result.
Quote: “One mistake, it just eats you. You can’t make mistakes here; it needs to be a perfect day. That’s why experience is so important in this sport. It’s a place that really bits you, especially when you don’t see it coming. I didn’t quite pump my brake pedal up and had a stone-cold set of rotors coming into pit lane. I’m thankful that no one was hurt, as I came in there pretty hot. I’m happy to get rookie of the year, that was the main goal, but I would have liked to have finished higher up with the Pennzoil Chevy. I feel as though I could have been a factor, so it’s a bit of a bittersweet. But for my first Indy 500, to see Helio get his fourth, is tremendous. It was amazing to hear the crowd as I was getting out of the car! After 2020 it was a great 2021.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!