Penske Racing

Team Penske 2023 INDYCAR Season Review - Scott McLaughlin

December 13, 2023

Team Penske continues to look back at the exciting 2023 season with an overview of each team's performance and highlights. In this week's spotlight, we focus on Scott McLaughlin and the No. 3 Pennzoil/DEX Imaging/XPEL/Sonsio/Odyssey Battery/Gallagher/Good Ranchers/Freightliner Chevrolet team and their memorable 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.

In just his third full season competing in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES (NICS), Scott McLaughlin continued to establish himself as a bona fide championship contender in 2023. When the curtain closed on season, McLaughlin and the No. 3 Pennzoil/DEX Imaging/XPEL/Sonsio/Odyssey Battery/Gallagher/Good Ranchers/Freightliner Chevrolet team – the self-proclaimed “Thirsty Threes” – had their best championship finish of third following a strong close to 2023.

McLaughlin finished outside of the top 10 just three times over the course of the 17-race NICS calendar. The first instance came in the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg where McLaughlin battled Romain Grosjean for the win before contact between the two ended both of their races prematurely. Finishes of 10th and sixth at Texas Motor Speedway and on the streets of Long Beach, respectively, followed as the series made its way to Barber Motorsports Park for Round 4.

After starting the race from the fourth position, McLaughlin again found himself in a fight for the win with Grosjean. Over the final stint of the race, McLaughlin saved precious seconds of “push to pass” boost while Grosjean depleted his supply in hopes of keeping the New Zealander behind him. As Grosjean had nothing left to defend his position, McLaughlin made his way around the Frenchman for the final time to seize the race lead. The victory marked the fourth of McLaughlin’s NICS career and the first for Good Ranchers, who made its first appearance as a primary sponsor on the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet a memorable one.

Despite the accelerated learning curve McLaughlin has gone through since his first NICS start at St. Petersburg to end the pandemic-altered 2020 season, he is still working to find the winning formula at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). As such, his last two finishes outside of the top 10 came during the month of May on the IMS Road Course and in the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500, where he finished 16th and 14th, respectively.

Beginning with the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear through the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (WRLS), McLaughlin’s average finish of 5.4 was among the best in the series. Only two drivers posted a higher average finish, and they happened to be the 2023 series champion and the runner-up to the title - Alex Palou and Scott Dixon.

McLaughlin’s impressively consistent season was punctuated by his first career oval pole position that came at World Wide Technology Raceway in August. He and the team were forced to take a starting grid penalty after electing to swap Chevrolet engines following qualifying, but McLaughlin was able to rally for a fifth-place finish. Heading into the final race at WRLS, McLaughlin and teammate, Josef Newgarden, were in a tight race to determine who would be the highest-finishing Team Penske driver for 2023. After an up-and-down day for McLaughlin, his second-place finish at WRLS allowed him to claim third in the championship standings. His continued development and steady performance over his three years in the series mirrored the vision that Roger Penske and team president, Tim Cindric, had when McLaughlin moved to the United States and transitioned to INDYCAR racing following a record-setting championship career with DJR Team Penske in the Australian SuperCars Championship.

“It’s amazing that the path Roger and Tim laid out for me is exactly how it’s playing out,” said McLaughlin. “We have the consistency, and we are solid in qualifying. Now it’s about the small improvements that can take our program to a consistent, championship-contending level.”

Back to previous page.

Copyright ©2008-2016 Penske Racing. All rights reserved