McLaughlin on slow start: ‘I look at it as a challenge’

Buried down in last place in the championship after his podium finish at St. Petersburg was taken away during this week’s Team Penske push-to-pass contretemps, Scott McLaughlin is ready to start his comeback Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park and see if he can rise high enough in the standings to vie for the title by the end of the season.

It’s a tall task for the New Zealander, but with last year’s Barber victory in mind, he’s at the perfect track to begin digging himself out of the championship cellar.

“I look at it as a challenge. I look at it with excitement,” he told RACER. “I know what this team is capable of. I’m proud to drive for this team. I know we can win this race this weekend.”

With his third-place run at St. Petersburg changed to 27th, and a tough day last Sunday in Long Beach where his No. 3 Chevy suffered a late and race-ending transmission problem which left him in 26th, McLaughlin sits 27th in the drivers’ standings with five points to his credit. To vault into title contention, the New Zealander will need to win and win and win again to bridge the points gap.

“I know we can potentially win the [Indy] 500 and then we’ll go onto amazing things if we get momentum because that’s exactly what we did last year,” he said.

“It is what it is now that that this stuff is behind us and we’ve got to focus forward. And it comes from my side; I’m the QB for the team. I gotta lead them through it and I can’t wait to do that.”

Story originally appeared on Racer