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McLaughlin ‘Gutted’ After Texas Dominance Falls Short on Final Lap

Scott McLaughlin finished a narrow second at the 2022 XPEL 375 at Texas.
Scott McLaughlin finished a narrow second at the 2022 XPEL 375 at Texas.
Scott McLaughlin dominated Sunday’s NTT IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, but finished second. Image courtesy of Joe Skibinski / Penske Entertainment

Scott McLaughlin could see the checkered flag as he exited off Turn 4 of the XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway. But any aspirations of celebrations in Victory Lane vanished as he witnessed Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden rip by on the outside and claim a stunning win by 0.0669s.

For McLaughlin, the outcome was a reversal of fortunes from the season opener on the Streets of St. Petersburg last month, where he fended off a late charge by reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou to score his first-ever victory.

The reality was the 28-year-old New Zealander was dominant on Sunday, leading a race-high 186 of 248 laps and looking every bit the part of a driver bracing for his second career IndyCar win in as many events in 2022. In the end, though, he was left watching Newgarden deliver the 600th win in Penske’s 56-year history.

“Looking back at it, if I would have thought about it in my head, which I already have done a million times, my car was tightening up, especially in traffic,” said McLaughlin, who also finished runner-up as rookie last year at TMS. “It probably wasn’t handling exactly how it had at the start earlier in the race. I was sort of maxed out on my tools. I was trying to control the traffic, couldn’t catch the traffic too much. At the end the traffic checked up into me.

“I knew there were going to be dramas in three and four. I struggled with my turns at three and four. I guess I wasn’t prepared to take the risk on the outside at (Turns) 3-4, which looking back at it I should have. My teammate Josef, obviously Josef chose to. Once he was on the outside of me, I can’t do anything.

“Yeah, look, I’m gutted. I’ll reevaluate everything over the next few days. But it’s funny, like last year I was fist pumping and jumping out of the car finishing second. I’m like, today, it sucks. That’s how it is. That’s how we’re growing. I’ll learn from this, get better.

“Yeah, I probably just need to expand, maybe risk a little bit more when I need, to try different lines. I’ll learn for the big one coming up in May.

“One thing is great, 600 wins for the Captain. Literally if anyone else beat me, I would be pissed. I’m kind of pissed now, but you know what I mean. 600 wins for the team. We led a lot of laps, extended the championship lead.

“Yeah, I’m a race driver. I want to win. It definitely hurts.”

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