No team orders: Penske sends 3 drivers to IndyCar title race

Sep 4, 2022, 11:08 AM | Updated: 11:11 pm

Scott McLaughlin smiles after his victory at the Grand Prix of Portland IndyCar auto race at the Po...

Scott McLaughlin smiles after his victory at the Grand Prix of Portland IndyCar auto race at the Portland International Raceway in Portland, Ore., on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022. (Naji Saker/The Oregonian via AP)

(Naji Saker/The Oregonian via AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Scott Dixon watched Scott McLaughlin lead lap after lap around Portland International Raceway and figured at some point, his fellow New Zealander would be ordered to pull over.

There’s a championship on the line — the closest IndyCar title fight in 19 years — and McLaughlin is at best a longshot. His teammate Will Power is the points leader, and so Dixon figured the radio orders would eventually come to call for McLaughlin to hand the lead to Power.

“I think I called it with 10 laps to go, ‘I’m surprised they haven’t swapped yet’,” Dixon said.

Team Penske issued no such team orders and will now wait until Sunday to see if it costs the organization the IndyCar title.

McLaughlin won his third race of the season and goes into this weekend’s season finale trailing points leader Power by 41 points. Still mathematically in the fight, but in need of a lot of help on the California road course.

Power, meanwhile, finished second to McLaughlin at Portland on Sunday to widen his lead in the standings. He arrived in Portland with just a three-point cushion over teammate Josef Newgarden, and Power is now up by 20 points over both Newgarden and Dixon.

Like Dixon, Power wondered why Team Penske didn’t move McLaughlin aside.

“Absolutely. I was on the radio asking for it,” said Power, noting that a victory would have been worth 11 additional points and sent him to Laguna Seca up 31 over the competition.

“Obviously, 10 points, 11 points would make a big difference,” Power said. “You wouldn’t be having to finish third (to win the title). You would have been having to finish eighth or something.”

Power then turned to Dixon and asked his longtime rival if his car owner, Chip Ganassi, would have called team orders in that position. Dixon nodded affirmatively.

But Power has seen it before from years of championship battles against the Ganassi group, including a four-year fight with Dixon and Dario Franchitti from 2010 through 2013. As Dixon and Franchitti always worked as a group, they often wondered why Power at Penske was forced to equally contend with his own teammates.

Power finished second in the championship race to a Ganassi driver three consecutive years, was fourth in 2013, and then finally won his only title in 2014 when he beat teammate Helio Castroneves.

Roger Penske allows each of his drivers to represent their teams and sponsors individually, and his drivers can race each other, but he draws that line at crashing into one another. Because he wants everyone to have a fair chance, any pre-race discussions about potential team orders for pole-sitter McLaughlin were brief.

“At the end of the day it was completely circumstantial. It’s pretty obvious what position you’re in if you do need to give up,” McLaughlin said. “I told Will before the race that I would fight him cleanly, and I think that’s all he expected.”

And although he was unaware Power was on the radio calling for a switch of the leaders, McLaughlin said he understood and would have understood if he’d been ordered to pull over. He led 104 of the 110 laps in a dominating victory.

“I’m a team player. I’ll do whatever I need to do, but for me I think the best thing we could do was win the race, either car. I think that’s exactly what happened,” McLaughlin said.

But if he’d been told to give away the win?

“Everyone knew that I would have been the true winner, so?” he said.


More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

No team orders: Penske sends 3 drivers to IndyCar title race