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IndyCar Indianapolis 500

McLaughlin relishes “gnarly” run to snatch record Indy 500 pole

Scott McLaughlin will savour his stirring record-breaking run to capture pole for the 108th edition of the Indianapolis 500.

NTT P1 Award winner Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet, Pole

McLaughlin set a memorable record-setting four-lap average of 234.220mph having set off as the last of the fast six, scoring Penske’s 19th Indy 500 pole.

Team-mates Will Power and defending race winner Josef Newgarden will start alongside McLaughlin - the trio gave team owner Roger Penske his first front-row lockout for the race since 1988, when Rick Mears sat on pole, alongside Danny Sullivan and Al Unser Sr.

While this outing marked the seventh pole of McLaughlin’s career, there are definitely plans to celebrate it before shifting focus to next Sunday’s 500-mile race.

“Yeah, definitely. We have next week, but very proud of the crew,” said McLaughlin when asked if celebrations were due.

“It's our first front-row sweep since 1988. To do it now with these two boys (Power and Newgarden) but also Roger's house, and I think we're all really happy for Roger. It's been a tough few years, obviously, at least with the car speed.

“Josef winning last year was fantastic, but a lot of the objective was to bring faster cars, and I think we certainly have, obviously. So proud of the effort.

“That was just a gnarly run. It was so cool, man. Really proud of everyone.”

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

The New Zealander came into the event with a best starting spot of 14th - achieved last year - in three previous starts. However, this surging run certainly helped signal his arrival.

“Welcome to the party,” he said.

“The Pennzoil Chevy was unreal. There’s so much pride in being able to do it. I’m working hard. Indy hasn’t been kind to me, and a lot of it was my doing. I need to work on things. This is the first step. The Thirsty 3’s, baby, we’re coming.”

McLaughlin admitted that reality in the cockpit came pretty quickly upon seeing the opening lap speed pull up on the steering wheel before sending it into Turn 1 for another round.

“Holy cow,” he said of his reaction.

“Just don't spray it. Just wanted to make sure I brought it home. Look, we work really hard to get a really good balance in the Fast 12, and I felt like my best run of the weekend was actually the Fast 12. I knew going last was going to be an advantage, and we used it.

“To execute the way we have as a team, that's what's really cool. You see the time, and then it's all about just executing. After that your weight jacker and figuring out, ok, what was the car doing and what do you think the car is going to do the next lap. So, you are playing with bars and weight jacker and trying to hold on to it.

“Yeah, we all have been really working on that this week and understanding it, and I was glad I was able to put it to the test when it mattered the most.”

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