Scott McLaughlin is adamant that he is still in contention for this year’s IndyCar Series title after finishing second at Nashville.
The Team Penske driver was arguably the class of the field in an altogether chaotic 80-lapper on the streets of Music City and probably would have won if not for an unfortunately timed first Caution period.
Despite that performance, McLaughlin is a longshot in terms of the battle for series honors.
The New Zealander is still 58 points, or more than a full event’s worth, behind team-mate Will Power with just three events left this season.
Running down Power is therefore a tough ask in itself, let alone also overhauling the other four drivers that happen to be between them on the table, noting Nashville winner Scott Dixon is just six points off top spot.
McLaughlin, however, does not care.
“I still fully believe I can win the championship,” he stated.
“I feel like I’m going to three tracks I really enjoy; Gateway, Portland, [and] Lagoon [Seca].
“Yeah, we might be an outsider, but I don’t care.
“I’ll be an outsider as long as I can be, and maybe we can switch that closeness in second the other way.”
The two-time IndyCar race winner said that he was somewhat conservative during the mayhem that was the Nashville race, even if ‘conservative’ was relative under the circumstances.
Still, he also believes he can take bigger risks than those who are currently top five in the series.
“Top five is a massive goal, and then to win, it would be an absolute bonus,” admitted McLaughlin.
“But, I certainly still believe that we’re as good a shot as anyone to win it.
“But I guess, on the outside, we can risk a little bit more and have a good time doing it.
“So yeah, I’m looking forward to throwing a few more sort of risky moves and trying to get myself in contention.
“Because, you know, I’m not unknown to winning championships.
“I know how to do it; it’s just a matter of just having a car to be able to do it.
“If we roll up to each track over the next few weeks with a car like the car that we had [at Nashville]we should be in pretty good shape. “
The Gateway event, the last of the year on an oval, takes place on August 19-20 (local time).
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