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McLaughlin Triumphs at Barber: Penske’s Intense Battle with Grosjean



Barber indycar 2023 race McLaughlin Triumphs

In a gripping showdown at Barber, Scott McLaughlin clinched his first 2023 victory for Team Penske, overcoming a fierce battle with Romain Grosjean.

Scott McLaughlin secured his first 2023 victory at Barber with Team Penske, despite a second wheel-banging incident with Romain Grosjean, who delivered an impressive performance but couldn’t turn his third IndyCar pole into a win.

Typically, a two-stop strategy is favored in this race, but a three-stop approach can also prove successful, especially if assisted by a well-timed caution.

Grosjean initially fended off challenges from Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward. Meanwhile, the three Penske cars driven by Josef Newgarden, McLaughlin, and Will Power, as well as the Arrow McLaren pair of Alexander Rossi and Felix Rosenqvist, opted for the three-stop strategy between laps 13 and 15 of the 90-lap race.

Newgarden reported a problem with his right rear after being struck by Rosenqvist on the first lap at Turn 2, which caused Rosenqvist to spin and fall to the back. Nonetheless, Newgarden overtook McLaughlin after pitting from sixth on lap 13 and managed to rejoin the top eight before the two-stoppers entered the pits around lap 30.

Grosjean retained the lead, with O’Ward undercutting Palou, and was about 22 seconds ahead of Newgarden. However, Newgarden pitted shortly after McLaughlin passed him on lap 37. The following lap, Sting Ray Robb from Dale Coyne’s team stopped at the side of the track, triggering a yellow flag. McLaughlin and Rossi, who were leading, pitted before the pace car appeared.

Grosjean reclaimed the lead with a nine-lap advantage on his tires. McLaughlin, who didn’t have to complete a full outlap like Newgarden, moved into second place. This was the second time Grosjean and McLaughlin had competed for the lead, with their first encounter in St Petersburg ending in McLaughlin taking Grosjean out.


Grosjean successfully defended his position against McLaughlin, who was on used soft tires, while completing a full 30-lap stint on hard tires. As Grosjean entered the pits, McLaughlin took advantage of his extra fuel to stay out and attempt quick laps before pitting three laps later. He managed to stay ahead of Grosjean, who nearly overtook him before making an aggressive move at Turn 13 and gaining the inside of Turn 14. They made contact, but McLaughlin provided enough space for Grosjean to remain on track and take the lead.

Once McLaughlin’s tires reached optimal temperature, he appeared confident and quick behind the former Formula 1 driver, Grosjean. Eventually, McLaughlin pressured Grosjean into making a mistake at Turn 5 on lap 72, allowing him to pull ahead.

With his first win of the year, McLaughlin climbed to fourth in the points standings. This victory was Penske’s second, following Newgarden’s win in Texas, and Chevrolet’s second, evenly dividing the four 2023 races with Honda thus far.

Starting from 11th, reigning champion Power stuck to his three-stop strategy, which paid off due to a combination of impressive laps in clear air before his last pit stop and both O’Ward and Palou encountering traffic before their final stops. This allowed him to secure third place.

Power managed to reduce a 12-second gap to Grosjean, taking advantage of his used soft tires compared to Grosjean’s new hard tires. However, Grosjean successfully fended him off.

With two Penske drivers on the podium and only one Andretti driver in the top 11, it’s evident that Grosjean’s performance was exceptional within his team. His 19-second lead over the closest two-stop competitor further highlights the strength of his drive.

O’Ward’s final pit stop undercut allowed him to finish fourth, just ahead of Palou, who continued to challenge him for the position until the last corner. One of the race’s standout performers finished in sixth place.


Christian Lundgaard surprised Scott Dixon of Ganassi’s team with an impressive pass at Turn 14. Lundgaard’s rise was due to being the sole driver committed to the two-stop strategy who extended the first stint on hard tires. This result marked Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s best performance of the year.

Dixon narrowly held off Rossi and Rosenqvist for seventh place, while points leader Marcus Ericsson used his two-stop strategy to secure a spot in the top 10.

Ericsson and Dixon’s teammate, Marcus Armstrong, should have qualified in the top 15 but lost his two fastest laps due to an impeding penalty. However, he managed to drive from 26th to 11th using a two-stop strategy during his first IndyCar permanent road-course appearance.

Results for a race at Barber in 2023

01S. McLaughlinTeam Penske01:47’58″9401
02R. GrosjeanAndretti Autosport+1″7854
03W. PowerTeam Penske+3″2699
04P. O’WardArrow McLaren+20″5745
05A. PalouChip Ganassi+20″9762
06C. LundgaardRahal Letterman+23″5319
07S. DixonChip Ganassi+24″2769
08A. RossiArrow McLaren+25″0582
09F. RosenqvistArrow McLaren+25″5107
10M. EricssonChip Ganassi+26″0190
11M. ArmstrongChip Ganassi+28″5527
12K. KirkwoodAndretti Autosport+36″3667
13C. IlottJuncos Hollinger+42″4441
14C. HertaAndretti Autosport+43″7781
15J. NewgardenTeam Penske+45″7346
16R. VeeKayEd Carpenter+55″1118
17G. RahalRahal Letterman+56″4422
18S. PagenaudMeyer Shank+56″7500
19D. MalukasDale Coyne with HMD+57″7650
20S. FerrucciAJ Foyt Enterprises+58″5106
21H. CastronevesMeyer Shank+1’00″0847
22B. PedersenAJ Foyt Enterprises+1’01″3063
23D. DeFrancescoAndretti Steinbrenner+1’03″1924
24J. HarveyRahal Letterman+1’04″5393
25C. DalyEd Carpenter+1’05″6055
26A. CanapinoJuncos Hollinger+1’06″1483
27S. RobbDale Coyne with RWR

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