McLaughlin wins at Portland as Power stretches IndyCar lead

·3-min read

Australian Will Power tightened his grip on the Indycar season title while Penske Racing teammate Scott McLaughlin of New Zealand captured Sunday's Portland Grand Prix with a dominant performance.

Pole-sitter McLaughlin captured his third career IndyCar victory after leading 104 of 110 laps on the 12-turn, 1.964-mile road course at Portland (Oregon) International Raceway.

"The car felt good in that first stint but as the race went on it got a little bit worse," McLaughlin said. "I just had to concentrate on where the strengths were in the car and try to work with those and the weaknesses, make the best of them."

Power finished second and stretched his season points edge from only three to 523-503 over American Josef Newgarden and New Zealand's Scott Dixon with the 17-race campaign concluding next Sunday at Laguna Seca, where a podium finish would be enough to secure the crown for Power.

"That's still very tough," Power said. "We're in the best position. We've got the best shot. We'll do everything we can."

Dixon, chasing a record-tying seventh career season title, was third after having started 16th and jumping from sixth to third after a restart with 22 laps remaining.

"We had to drive through the field," Dixon said. "We tried as hard as possible on that last run.

"We're still in the fight. Anything is possible. We're in it and we'll never give up until it's over."

Newgarden finished eighth but has a season-high five race wins for a tie-breaker edge over all rivals.

"We'll go to Laguna and just try to be fast," Newgarden said. "We're going to go and try to win that race and go for broke."

Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson of Sweden, 39 points back, and McLaughlin, 41 adrift, have longshot title chances.

"Yeah, we're a longshot but I don't care," McLaughlin said. "We have a shot and I'm looking forward to it."

McLaughlin, who also won this year at St. Petersburg and Mid-Ohio, took his seventh podium of the season and fourth in five races to stay in the season championship chase.

"We did exactly what we needed to do this weekend and that was win and get max points, keep ourselves in the fight," McLaughlin said.

Power won his only IndyCar season crown in 2014 while Newgarden took titles in 2017 and 2019 and was runner-up the past two years.

"I want to win this championship for the guys that have been with me for more than a decade," Power said. "They deserve it for the pain over the years of losing so many."

McLaughlin and front-row neighbor Power stayed 1-2 from the start through the last pit stops.

Dutchman Rinus VeeKay knocked American Jimmie Johnson into the outer wall of the main straightaway on lap 84 to bring out the only caution flag and set up a restart with 22 laps remaining.

On the restart, Mexico's Pato O'Ward bumped Power and blocked Dixon in the sharp right-hand first turn, race control forcing O'Ward to let Dixon overtake him for third for the violation.