ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Scott McLaughlin had no deal in place to leave Australian Supercars and expand into a fourth IndyCar entry for Team Penske when he flew from Sydney to the United States this week.
McLaughlin had just won his third consecutive Supercars title and immediately jumped on a plane to begin preparations for his IndyCar debut. It was among the worst kept secrets that McLaughlin would be full-time IndyCar next season, but without a deal, the 27-year-old New Zealander approached Sunday’s season finale at St. Petersburg as a tryout he’d ace.
“I was confident that I’d be OK and have an opportunity next year,” McLaughlin said Saturday.
Instead, he said he was pulled into a meeting with team owner Roger Penske and President Tim Cindric and said a deal was done; Team Penske was leaving Supercars and McLaughlin was in the No. 3 IndyCar next year.