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Scott McLaughlin Wins a Chaotic Barber Classic

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2024 visit to Barber Motorsport Park was a classic. Let’s dive into what happened, including how Scott McLaughlin took victory lane.

Scotty Mac and Will Power bring it back for Penske

After being disqualified from St. Petersburg, Scott McLaughlin was eager to move on and get back to business. That is exactly what the Kiwi did this weekend at Barber.

Scotty Mac controlled this race brilliantly from the pole to make it back-to-back wins at Barber.  His teammate Will Power’s race was a little more of a roller coaster and a bit messy, but he brought it home to make it a Penske 1-2.

Meanwhile, their teammate Josef Newgarden was nowhere near the podium. The Tennessean had a bad qualifying and had an even worse race.

Chaos, more chaos, and a mannequin?

This Barber race was filled with many things, but chaos had to be the biggest. The drivers played rough today, with countless moments of argy-bargy and shoving each other off the track.

Not only that, some cars did not make it to the end of the race at all. The first caution was brought out due to Pato O’Ward sending Pietro Fittipaldi to the barriers. It was another weekend to forget for the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. The Mexican driver had quite a decent qualifying but failed to capitalize on that. He got a drive-through penalty for punting Fittipaldi.

His Arrow McLaren teammate Alexander Rossi also contributed to the chaos. During a later stage pitstop, the No. 7 crew did not secure one of the Californian’s tires, which fell off. This naturally brought out another full course yellow.

There were plenty of other chaotic moments but by far the most bizarre was on lap 52. A mannequin, affectionately named Georgina, fell off its display under a pedestrian bridge and onto the track. She did not cause a caution but was removed by the AMR Safety team during another caution soon after.

Fuel save vs sending it

One of the major things that made this race at Barber Motorsport Park so good was strategy. Throughout the race there were two major strategies drivers were executing. The first was a conservative fuel-saving approach of two pit stops. This was used by the likes of Alex Palou and in the case of the fight for the win, it was unsuccessful.

The other strategy was the opposite. The likes of McLaughlin, Power, and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Linus Lundqvist took the best advantage of this.

Lundqvist arguably took the best advantage of this as his already good drive turned into his first IndyCar podium. The fact of the matter is, the extra splash and dash stop towards the end of the race ended being the right call.

The drivers who were saving fuel were simply too slow to be competitive at the front.

Herta takes over the championship lead

After his amazing victory in Long Beach, Scott Dixon was leading the championship coming into Barber. However, the six-time series champion had a rare stinker of a race. He had a terrible qualifying and his race did not go much better.

Meanwhile, his nearest championship rival Colton Herta had a quietly decent recovery race. The Andretti man spent most of the race outside the top 15 but took advantage of the chaos and snuck himself into the top 10.

This gave him just enough points to pip Dixon and the Californian now trails Will Power by one point.

A race to remember

Long Beach was an excellent race. As I mentioned last week it had everything. This Barber race was even bigger and better. Even more chaos, even more great battles, and fascinating strategy. It was one hell of an IndyCar race.


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