Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix | IndyCar Race | McLaughlin beats Power and Lundqvist to win in thrilling race at Barber

Photo Credit: Penske Entertainment | Joe Skibinski
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McLaughlin got away superbly to hold a comfortable lead on the opening lap. Power had to fend off Christian Lundgaard into turn 5.

At the back, Rinus VeeKay rammed into the back of Robb and spun him around. Harvey and Simpson also were involved as innocent parties. The Dutch driver was handed a drive-through.

On lap 2, O’Ward spun at turn 5 as he braked too late and needed to avoid Lundgaard, dropping to P24. After making up places on the first lap, Palou (+2) and Dixon (+4) overtook Newgarden on their alternates to move into P7 and P8.

Meanwhile, Ferrucci came together with Herta twice. At turn 1 on the second lap, the AJ Foyt driver clobbered into the side of the Andretti but they avoided going off. Then at turn 5 a couple of laps later, he had a massive lunge on Herta and got through following contact for P17.

A caution was thrown on lap 6 as Pato O’Ward spun Pietro Fittipaldi into the wall. The Mexican took too much kerb into turn 12 and tagged the Brazilian from the rear, hitting the wall at speed. The RLL driver was okay. Unsurprisingly, O’Ward got a drive-through.

McLaughlin, Power, Lundgaard, Rosenqvist, Armstrong, Palou, Rahal, Dixon, Newgarden and Grosjean was the top 10 ahead of the restart.

O’Ward (P19), Lundqvist, Ferrucci, Pourchaire, Harvey, VeeKay, Simpson and Ghiotto topped up on fuel during the caution period.

On lap 12, Alex Palou continued his charge as he passed teammate Marcus Armstrong into turn 5, and he followed it up into turn 12 as he overtook Felix Rosenqvist to move into P4.

Unfortunately for Armstrong, he continued to fall away as Rahal and Dixon passed the CGR driver, meaning he fell to 8th.

Towards the back, Jack Harvey got his elbows out with a tasty pass on Kyffin Simpson into turn 1 for 23rd.

McLaughlin led Power, Lundgaard, Palou, Rosenqvist, Rahal, Dixon, Armstrong, Newgarden and Grosjean on lap 15. The defending champion was asked to fuel save as CGR switched Palou to a 2-stop strategy.

A huge moment came on lap 18 as contact between Rahal and Dixon heading into turn 5 sent the 6-time champion into a spin. He dropped to 18th. Rahal had started to drift back towards the racing line in the braking zone as he seemingly had no idea the CGR driver was trying an ambitious move around the outside.

Another champion had a disastrous moment at turn 5 on lap 23. Will Power got deep, ending up in the grass and lost P2 to Christian Lundgaard. He also dropped 7s to leader and teammate McLaughlin.

A lap later, Lundgaard pitted from P2 as he was on the aggressive 3-stop strategy. The Dane rejoined in P14.

Fellow Dane Christian Rasmussen had big contact with Marcus Ericsson down into turns 8 and 9. As the Swede was up the inside, the Ed Carpenter driver refused to give it up and ended up in the gravel, dropping from P11 to 26th.

Will Power went 4 laps longer than Lundgaard, coming out in P14 behind big rival Scott Dixon.

Race leader Scott McLaughlin boxed a lap later, rejoining in 9th.

A couple of laps later, Palou, Armstrong, Dixon and Herta all boxed as they were all on a 2-stop, unlike McLaughlin, Power and Lundgaard.

Rosenqvist, Rahal, Newgarden, Grosjean and Ericsson all boxed a tour later, with the defending Indy 500 champion jumping Rahal.

However, Newgarden’s strategy was badly hurt seconds later as Armstrong touched his right rear into turn 16 and sent the Penske driver onto the grass.

Once again at turn 5 there was contact as Grosjean got into the side of Kirkwood. A couple of laps later, the American driver got his retribution in the same turn as a big lunge and wheel-to-wheel banging with the French driver resulted in him getting through.

There was a huge moment for debutant Luca Ghiotto as the Italian got wide out of the final corner and almost ended up in the wall as he took a big trip through the grass.

A caution was thrown on lap 44 as Alex Rossi exited the pits with wheel not attached correctly. His left rear fell off at turn 2 and his day was done.

McLaughlin led Lundgaard, Power, Palou, Rosenqvist, Armstrong, Ferrucci, Rahal, Kirkwood and Grosjean when it was thrown.

Unfortunately for the top 3, their 3-stop strategy was ruined and they had to pit at the end of lap 46, falling to P17, P18 and P19.

That meant Palou took the lead from Rosenqvist, Armstrong, Ferrucci, Rahal, Kirkwood, Grosjean, Newgarden, Ericsson and VeeKay. Dixon and Herta ran in P12 and P13 as the top 2 in the standings continued to be close together.

VeeKay started to show his practice speed as he cleared Newgarden and Ericsson on the restart. He would follow it up by overtaking Grosjean a couple of laps later.

There was a superb fight for P17 as McLaughlin and Power went at it. The Aussie passed the Kiwi into turn 5, but McLaughlin fought back with a brilliant pass into turn 1 on the next tour.

In the scrap for P12, Colton Herta made a superb pass on Scott Dixon into turn 5.

A mannequin fell before turn 7 but dropped on the grass.

The caution had to be thrown on lap 55 as Stint Ray Robb hit the barriers at turn 1 as the American driver reported a steering issue.

14 cars pitted under the caution with 34 laps to go, with Palou in P11 ahead of Rosenqvist, Armstrong, Rahal, Kirkwood, VeeKay, Grosjean, Ericsson, Newgarden, Dixon, O’Ward, Herta, Pourchaire and Ghiotto. This brought McLaughlin, Power and Lundgaard right back into the game.

Santino Ferrucci decided not to pit, holding the lead ahead of Lundqvist, McLaughlin, Simpson, Power, Lundgaard, Rasmussen, Harvey, Canapino and Blomqvist.

The restart was waved off as race control was unhappy with how the field was spread out. The race eventually resumed on lap 61.

In the battle of the 2-stop cars, Armstrong cleared Rosenqvist on the restart. However, the Swede came back two laps later and reclaimed P12.

Intriguingly, Scott Dixon pitted again on lap 66 as he topped up on fuel. O’Ward and Newgarden also came in a tour later to do the same.

More bumper car action took place at turn 5 as Newgarden escorted Tom Blomqvist onto the grass for P21.

Race leader Ferrucci came in on lap 67, falling to P17. Lundqvist took over and came in 3 laps later, rejoining in 14th.

McLaughlin, Power and Lundgaard all pitted at the end of lap 75. As the two Penskes could pull 2 to 3 seconds a lap before their stops, they rejoined well ahead of Alex Palou.

Lundqvist’s strategy started to pay off a treat as he passed Grosjean, Rahal, Herta, Kirkwood, Armstrong Lundgaard, (who was on his out lap), Rosenqvist and Palou in the space of 9 laps to take 3rd.

Despite all the contact, it took until lap 79 until trouble happened at turn 5. Agustin Canapino spun Christian Rasmussen around as they battled for P14.

Ferrucci came back through the pack as he overtook Grosjean, Rahal, Herta and Kirkwood to move into P8.

Despite a big fuel advantage, Christian Lundgaard struggled on blacks and could only pass Marcus Armstrong for P6.

Running in the dirty air behind Theo Pourchaire, Rasmussen had a huge slide at turn 13 and stalled. Incredibly everyone avoided hitting the Dane as 4 or 5 cars were running close behind. A caution had to be thrown with 5 to go.

On the restart with 2 remaining, Felix Rosenqvist swept around the outside of Alex Palou to take P4. Ferrucci and Herta passed Armstrong to take P7 and P8.

It was a perfect final couple of laps for McLaughlin as he masterfully pulled away from Power to take a superb win. Team Penske sealed a 1-2 following an incredibly tough week for the squad after the St. Pete disqualifications.

The 28th of April 2024 will be forever etched into the memory of Linus Lundqvist as he bagged his first podium in IndyCar with P3.

Rosenqvist, Palou, Lundgaard, Ferrucci, Herta, Armstrong and Kirkwood rounded out the top 10.

Rahal, Grosjean, Harvey, Simpson, Dixon, Newgarden, VeeKay, Ericsson, Blomqvist, Canapino, Ghiotto, O’Ward, Pourchaire and Rasmussen completed the order of the drivers who finished.

Newgarden made contact with Simpson on the restart at turn 5, losing a place to Dixon. At the same corner a couple of seconds later, O’Ward clouted into teammate Pourchaire and broke the toe link on the Frenchman’s car.

Colton Herta takes the championship lead by a single point from Will Power.