Penske Racing driver and pole-sitter Scott McLaughlin evaded two last-lap crashes to win the First Responder 175 in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge finale on Saturday at a virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
McLaughlin navigated his way past the carnage of four wrecked cars to win the 33-driver, 70-lap event at the Brickyard.
McLaughlin’s second victory in the series — he also won in Alabama — gave Team Penske a clean sweep on ovals in the six-race IndyCar iRacing Challenge series. Simon Pagenaud, the defending Indianapolis 500 champion, won at Michigan and Twin Ring Motegi.
“I was hoping there was going to be one wreck, and there was two,” McLaughlin told the IndyCar on NBC booth. “I thought we were going to get third. We were in the right place at the right time.”
Conor Daly finished in second place, and Santino Ferrucci third despite being caught up in one of those last-lap wrecks. IndyCar rookie Oliver Askew — who crashed across the finish with Ferrucci — and Arrow McLaren SPM driver Pato O’Ward ended up in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
O’Ward clipped Marcus Ericsson’s car and fell out of the race in the waning moments. Seconds later, Ferrucci and Askew also wrecked while battling for the lead within 100 feet of the finish.
“Just coming to the finish line, and I was trying to get closer to him, and I went through him,” Ferrucci told the IndyCar on NBC booth. “I don’t know why. I mean, trying to steer a little closer to him because I knew the drag race would be tight. I just didn’t expect the cars to go sideways. I wanted to get a little closer there but did not expect to do that.
“That’s my bad. I apologize for doing that to Oliver. That was definitely his race to win. But at the end of the day, it’s a video game, and we had fun. It’s not anything you’d ever do in real life, but it’s a tight race.”
Askew tweeted at Ferrucci afterward, “you owe me a glass of milk, bud.”
–Field Level Media