CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Scott McLaughlin was supposed to leave Australia for Indianapolis this month to make his IndyCar debut on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With sports on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, the two-time V8 SuperCars champion saw his IndyCar plans postponed.
McLaughlin instead settled for a virtual victory Saturday on the oval at Indianapolis Motor Speedway — his second win of IndyCar's iRacing six-race series — after a wild finish in which most of the leaders crashed as they rushed toward the checkered flag.
“Unbelievable,” McLaughlin said. “I was literally just hoping there was going to be a wreck at the end. I thought we were going to be third, and then the three wrecked and we won.”
McLaughlin celebrated in the seat of his simulator in Australia with a glass of cold milk, a nod to the traditional victory celebration at the Indianapolis 500. He declined to pour it over his head while sitting in his expensive rig.
Formula One driver Lando Norris, winner of last week's IndyCar virtual race, was headed for what appeared a 1-2-3 podium sweep for the Arrow McLaren SP entries on the final lap. But Norris ran into the back of Simon Pagenaud, a two-time iRacing winner and the defending Indy 500 champion, to take himself out of contention.
Then Oliver Askew and Pato O'Ward crashed, cars were sailing airborne and McLaughlin slid through the carnage to give Team Penske drivers their fourth win in the six-race series. McLaughlin and Pagenaud won twice, and Norris and Sage Karam were the other winners of this series created for content while IndyCar is on hold.
Conor Daly finished second and was followed by Santino Ferrucci, who figured there would be a lot of angry drivers after the 175-mile race.