Reigning Australian Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin says his IndyCar debut was "awesome" despite crashing out of the St Petersburg season finale.
McLaughlin, who will join Team Penske full-time in the US series next season, made steady progress in the first half of the race moving from his 21st starting spot to 17th just before half distance.
However, the three-time Australian Supercars champion's maiden appearance came to an abrupt end on lap 47 following a restart as he attempted to pass Marco Andretti which led to contact that tipped the Kiwi into a spin.
That left him him in the path of Rinus Veekay and the subsequent damage forced McLaughlin out of the race, while the Dutchman was able to continue.
Despite not seeing the finish, McLaughlin was happy with his long-awaited IndyCar debut.
"It was awesome. Far out, best day of my life bar my wedding," McLaughlin said.
"The Shell V-Power Nitro+ IndyCar was going well and then I just tried to make a move, I tried to block Marco.
"I felt like I was there or thereabouts and just had half a rear-lock, I'm not exactly sure. Cold tyres caught me out a little bit.
"Pretty disappointed but I had a lot of fun today."
McLaughlin's Penske team-mate Josef Newgarden won the race, as fellow New Zealander Scott Dixon claimed a historic sixth IndyCar title after finishing third.
McLaughlin, who tested impressively for Team Penske at Sebring and Circuit of The Americas as well as passing his oval rookie test at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this year, has long harboured the ambition of racing in US open-wheel.
He was due to originally make his race debut in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis this year, but that was put on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The revised date of that event clashed with a Supercars round and there were major travel restrictions in Australia and the US at the time.
It was announced on Saturday that McLaughlin will race full-time in the series next season, as Penske has also withdrawn its involvement in Australian Supercars.
Autosport has produced a standalone special magazine to celebrate our 70th birthday. All current print subscribers will receive a copy for free. To order your copy of the 196-page Autosport 70th Anniversary issue, please go to: autosport.com/autosport70th