NO. 3 XPEL DALLARA/CHEVROLET
START – 2ND
FINISH – 2ND
POINTS – 3RD (-168)
RACE RUNDOWN: Scott McLaughlin and the No. 3 XPEL Chevrolet team overcame a tumultuous day to finish second in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (WRLS), the team’s 11th consecutive top-10 finish to close out the 2023 NNT INDYCAR SERIES season. With the finish, McLaughlin and team finish third in the season championship point standings, their best season finish since McLaughlin made the move from Australian Supercars in 2021. The day started with McLaughlin getting sent off course by competitor Christian Lundgaard in the second corner of the first lap. He was able to keep his Chevrolet running and rejoined the field in the 19th position, staying on the lead lap. From there, he made a strong push through the field, eventually making his way back to the fifth position. Unfortunately, just before a caution flag on lap 38, McLaughlin made rear contact with the No. 14 of Santino Ferrucci along the frontstretch as Ferrucci and others slowed considerably. It was determined to be avoidable contact on the part of McLaughlin, so the New Zealander was sent to the rear of the field on the ensuing restart. After immediately pitting for fuel as their race strategy changed, McLaughlin restarted from the 18th position, but was called to pit road for a pass-through penalty with teammate Will Power that they both served as a result of making pit stops following a lineup reorder. From there, McLaughlin used the Firestone primary tire – and an advantageous caution flag for their strategy – to eventually move to the rear of the No. 9 of Scott Dixon. Despite being released from his fuel conservation, McLaughlin was not able to maneuver around his fellow countryman, but scored his career-best finish at WRLS.
MCLAUGHLIN’S THOUGHTS: “We had a fast car today and knew we just needed to keep our heads down. The guys and girls on this team are great, and today they served up great pit stops and fixed things straightaway to keep us going. Just really proud overall. You know, we didn’t win as many races as we did in 2022, but I think it was a better season overall. We were solid when we needed to be, and we haven’t been out of the top-10 since the Indianapolis 500. I said to the team today that next season starts today. Really proud of where we’ll be starting for 2024.”