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HomeNewsMcLaughlin’s emotional win in bizarre Barber scenes

McLaughlin’s emotional win in bizarre Barber scenes

SCOTT McLaughlin and Team Penske have bounced back from a period of scrutiny in style to return to the IndyCar winners’ circle.

Penske came under fire for a scandal involving the illegal use of push-to-pass at restarts which saw McLaughlin and Josef Newgarden belatedly disqualified from the St. Petersburg season-opener.

A wave of criticism followed, with the likes of Andretti Autosport driver Colton Herta and McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown disputing explanations from the Penske camp.

McLaughlin put all of that to the side to take pole position at Barber Motorsports Park and convert that into victory in a 1-2 ahead of Australian teammate Will Power.

It’s the second successive year McLaughlin has won at the Alabama circuit – and this time was complete with a touch of the bizarre as a mannequin fell onto the track.

“Certainly it was a little emotional, for sure,” McLaughlin said of the victory in the circumstances.

“It’s just nice… obviously it was a pretty tough week.”

Speaking to the fan backlash whereby the team’s ethics had been brought into question, McLaughlin added: “The fans are passionate. We love them.

“If you’re getting booed, that’s a good thing. They’re passionate. They love the sport. If you’re getting cheered, it’s the same thing. I’ve always looked at it sort of two ways.

“You don’t want to be a guy they don’t like. It doesn’t affect the way I’m racing. I just hope that hopefully I race with a lot of integrity, honesty. What happened and transpired last week was just a mistake. It’s a human game, as well.

“I’ve always had a tremendous amount of support here in America. I’ve always been grateful for that. Hopefully we can win a few people back.

“But certainly a lot of the people that say a lot of crap online, on social media, they’re probably the people that will come shake your hand and say, Good job. It’s tit for tat. It’s part of it. That’s part of being in the spotlight as well.”

The result has propelled McLaughlin from 29th and last in the championship up to ninth, ahead of the all-important month of May at Indianapolis.

That will involve a grand prix on the road course on May 11, followed by the Indy 500 on May 26.

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