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September 10, 2023

Scott McLaughlin

Salinas, California

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Continuing on with the podium finishers here, coming home second today, Scott McLaughlin for Team Penske. Fourth podium of the season. First since Nashville. 12th of his career. Perhaps more importantly for you, you talked about it yesterday, finishing third in the championship, which was a goal.


Yeah, I think I hit everything but the pace car today. Certainly one of those crazy days, peak INDYCAR days.

Yeah, super pumped. Things that didn't go my way, things I probably shouldn't have done either, but we just kept our heads down and kept working. Yeah, took the fuel when we needed, pitted when we needed to. Just slightly came back through.

I think I had one really good restart where I picked off sort of six or seven cars. I was just hauling. So much fun. Thought I maybe might be able to have a crack at Scottie at the end. He was just too fast. I knew if I finished second, I was most likely going to be top three in the championship. That ultimately was my goal coming into this weekend.

THE MODERATOR: Let's continue with questions for Scott McLaughlin.

Q. Does finishing third mean anything for you financially in terms of incentives contract-wise?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I don't even know. I think maybe. I don't know. You know what, I think obviously prize money changes, but that's just how it is. I don't even know from a team perspective.

For me it's just a pride thing. More importantly, we wanted to be the top Chevy team, beat McLaren, and we did that. I wanted to beat my teammates. Ultimately ticked both those goals.

I talk about beating our teammates. We had a serious good camaraderie between the three of us. It's very competitive. It gets tense at times. That's what you want in a relationship. I think we all push each other to new levels. To beat those two is a proud moment.

Yeah, super pumped.

Q. You called it peak INDYCAR. Will called it a textbook old-school INDYCAR race. Why do you enjoy this kind of style? It's wild?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I didn't say I enjoyed it.

I think you just never give up. You just got to keep fighting and keep moving forward. I said to the guys after we got hit off the start, We'll make something of it somehow. It was always going to be a bit weird with the fuel, who would two stop, who would three stop, blah, blah, blah.

I knew we had a fast enough car, if I made some moves on restarts and whatnot, we'd be okay. Yeah, it was perfect.

Q. There's actually more talent to come from New Zealand, what you and Scott and Marcus are doing, paving the way for another new generation of people.

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, no, it's fantastic. We're a small country, punch above our weight in many sporting areas: golf, rugby, sailing, and now racing obviously. Young kids coming through, Jacob Douglas is one who is a guy I'm really keeping an eye on, F2000 right now. Try to help him get into pro 2000 next year. I think he's a massive talent. I think anything that me and Scottie and Marcus and anyone can do to help that, we have a huge talent pool down there.

To be role models, people that they look up to, is a special moment because I was that kid once. I was a Jacob Douglas looking up at Scottie. Pretty cool thing.

Q. Looking at the race today, how physical this race was, did it play itself out? Was it really physical out there?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I was surprised. I felt pretty good at the end of it. Obviously the more grip the track took, the heavier the steering was.

No, I felt pretty good. We had a lot of stop-start. If you had a long green run, it was probably going to be hard. That's what we all train for. I felt pretty good throughout it.

Q. Can you think of a wilder INDYCAR race you've ever been a part of?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Nashville. Every Nashville race, except this one this year.

But no, it was wild. I mean, for me as a driver, just thinking of my race, it was probably the most craziest race I've ever had in my career just from an up-and-down perspective. It probably takes me back to the year I lost the Supercars championship for the first time. Up and down, penalties, thing you could avoid and couldn't avoid. It was just nuts.

Like I said, it was peak INDYCAR. To be able to come back from that is pretty cool.

THE MODERATOR: That wraps up 2023.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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