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Scott McLaughlin Outduels Romain Grosjean at Barber Motorsports Park

The Thirsty 3s will trade “Sweet Home Alabama” for “Back Home Again In Indiana” as the momentum builds for the month of May. (Photo: Riley Thompson | TPF)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — After Romain Grosjean ran wide in Turn 5, with zero push-to-pass remaining, Scott McLaughlin seized this moment to slide by the Frenchman to win the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix at Barber Motorsports Park.

McLaughlin won his fourth career NTT IndyCar Series race after leading 24 laps in Alabama. The victory at Barber is also the fourth different track (St. Pete, Mid-Ohio, Portland) the Team Penske driver has won at, in his third full season in the series.

“I call it a happy driver strategy,” McLaughlin said. “I was a lot happier doing that. So thankful and first weekend with Good Ranchers on the car. What an amazing thing for them to be with us this weekend. My team advanced me there to victory lane.

“We had great fuel, went past (Romain) Grosjean there on a little bit of strategy, advanced past him and feel really good about it. Really happy to advance to victory lane and I am really happy about it.”

The first and only full-course caution arrived on Lap 39 when Sting Ray Robb’s No. 51 Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing Honda stalled, which ended up playing out in McLaughlin’s favor.

This changed the complexion of the race as drivers on the three-stop strategy were able to make their pit stops before the yellow came out. Race control held back from throwing out the caution flag, allowing McLaughlin and others to pit to prevent their strategies from going down the drain.

On the Lap 43 restart, Grosjean led the race as McLaughlin’s No. 3 Chevrolet restarted in second on fresher tires. Both drivers engaged in a fierce battle, banging wheels, with Grosjean hanging on for the time being.

However, on Lap 72, McLaughlin took the lead for the final time and never looked back, after Grosjean didn’t get through Turn 5 smoothly and having no push-to-pass left the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda at a disadvantage for the remainder of the 90-lap race.

Despite coming so close to winning again, Grosjean is fired up more than ever to finally get his first checkered flag in IndyCar competition.

“It hurts,” Grosjean said. “The three-stop never wins at Barber, but today the pits stayed open. That gave (Scott) McLaughlin and (Will) Power the edge on the three-stop. Look at the two-stop (cars) behind us – 20 seconds behind us.

“We had an incredible car, drove really well, gave it 100 percent, but we just got unlucky with that yellow. Congrats to Scott. He deserved that win.”

The NTT IndyCar Series returns to action on Saturday, May 13 for the GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, with NBC coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix Results

The first road-course race of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season didn’t disappoint. (Photo: Riley Thompson | TPF)

  1. (3) Scott McLaughlin
  2. (28) Romain Grosjean
  3. (12) Will Power
  4. (5) Pato O’Ward
  5. (10) Alex Palou
  6. (45) Christian Lundgaard
  7. (9) Scott Dixon
  8. (7) Alexander Rossi
  9. (6) Felix Rosenqvist
  10. (8) Marcus Ericsson
  11. (11) Marcus Armstrong (R)
  12. (27) Kyle Kirkwood
  13. (77) Callum Ilott
  14. (26) Colton Herta
  15. (2) Josef Newgarden
  16. (21) Rinus VeeKay
  17. (15) Graham Rahal
  18. (60) Simon Pagenaud
  19. (18) David Malukas
  20. (14) Santino Ferrucci
  21. (06) Helio Castroneves
  22. (55) Benjamin Pedersen (R)
  23. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco
  24. (30) Jack Harvey
  25. (20) Conor Daly
  26. (78) Agustin Canapino (R)
  27. (51) Sting Ray Robb (R)

Kobe Lambeth is a 2021 graduate of UNC Charlotte, who earned his undergraduate degree in Communication Studies (mass media concentration), with a double minor in Journalism and American Studies. In February 2007, he initially developed a strong passion for motorsports. His childhood dream is to work in the motorsports industry for a long time. In June 2017, his journey began as a freelance journalist and social media specialist for RockinghamNow, covering high school sports and leading a Twitter project. He was a part of expanded coverage of high school football within his local community. Through the use of Twitter, his team had a goal of significantly increasing the number of followers on multiple accounts. At The Podium Finish, he intends to provide professional motorsports coverage, focusing on series such as the NASCAR Cup Series, NTT IndyCar Series and more. He's also a Freelance Editor at NASCAR Digital Media and Multimedia Producer at GRID Network

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