As Scott McLaughlin enters his third IndyCar season, he is embracing his recent status as a favorite in the competitive series.
Despite coming from a stock car background in the Australian Supercars Championship, McLaughlin is now at a point where he’s regularly fighting at the front in America’s top open wheel series.
The 33-year-old earned three victories last season, and was achingly close to getting a couple more. That raw speed combined with his charismatic personality has quickly elevated him in the minds of fans as well as the rest of the paddock.
McLaughlin is now thought to be among the drivers with the best chances to win the championship this season, and he’s perfectly comfortable with those expectations.
“A bit arrogant, but I had that in Australia,” said McLaughlin, referencing his dominant four-year stretch in Supercars. “I know what the feeling is like to be a favorite and be right at the front.
“I feel like it’s nice and it’s been a lot of work to get to this point to be considered a favorite or whatnot. It’s a proud moment, you just go with it and see if we are there or if it’s just smoke and mirrors.
“I think it’s important to just get going. Last year, our goal was top seven. That was a bit of a surprise you could say. Not that we didn’t believe it, but it was like ‘Oh, this is nice.’ Certainly getting going was nice.
“Ideally yes I’d love to get off with a win, but I just want a solid race, get some good points, and get out of here.
“We’re right on schedule where I want to be. I think we’re in a good spot, so it’s just a matter of fine tuning bits and pieces and trying to minimize the lull I had in the middle of the season. That would be great.”
McLaughlin started out the 2022 season in style by earning his first victory on the streets of St. Petersburg, and he will make every attempt to do the same again this weekend in his Team Penske Chevy.