IndyCar's last place driver dominated at Barber Motorsports Park

Scott McLaughlin entered Barber Motorsports Park sitting in 29th place out of 29 drivers in the IndyCar championship standings. He moved up 20 spots.
Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske, IndyCar
Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske, IndyCar / Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

By competing in an IndyCar race, a driver can score no fewer than five points. Five points are awarded to all drivers who finish in 25th place or lower. But Team Penske's Scott McLaughlin entered Sunday's race at Barber Motorsports Park averaging 2.5 points per race.

McLaughlin initially finished in third place in the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, but it was later discovered that both he and teammate Josef Newgarden had illegally utilized a manipulated push-to-pass system during the race. As a result, he was disqualified and credited with zero points.

A gearbox issued knocked him out of the following race on the streets of Long Beach, California, and he was scored in 26th place. He found himself in 29th in the championship standings out of the 29 drivers who had competed this year, trailing a number of competitors who had only made one start.

Scott McLaughlin bounces back at Barber

He entered Sunday's 90-lap Children's of Alabama Indy Grand Prix around the 17-turn, 2.38-mile (3.83-kilometer) natural terrain road course in Birmingham, Alabama as the reigning winner, and after taking the pole position on Saturday to score one point -- a point that increased his season total by 20% -- he led the most laps, utilized the right fuel strategy, and scored his first win in a year.

And thanks to collecting the maximum haul of 54 points, he moved up 20 positions in the championship standings and finds himself in ninth place heading into the month of May.

Newgarden, who led the standings after the race in Long Beach, fell to 11th place due to his disqualification, and he fell further as a result of a lackluster day at Barber, a track at which he is a three-time winner. He now finds himself in a 15th place tie with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammates Christian Lundgaard and Graham Rahal.

Team Penske's Will Power, who was docked 10 points as a result of his team's St. Petersburg violation, despite the fact that he personally did not utilize the manipulated system, leads the team in second place in the standings. He sits just one point behind new leader Colton Herta of Andretti Global.

The next race on the 2024 IndyCar schedule is the Sonsio Grand Prix, which is set to be broadcast live on NBC from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 11.

IndyCar: Why one Team Penske driver was penalized for NOT cheating. IndyCar: Why one Team Penske driver was penalized for NOT cheating. dark. Next

Chip Ganassi Racing's Alex Palou, who sits in third place in the standings, is the reigning winner, though teammate Scott Dixon, the Long Beach winner who sits in fourth, won the most recent race at the track last August. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don't miss any of the action!