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Fernando Alonso to return to Indy 500 in 2019

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If Fernando Alonso seemed a little too upbeat after qualifying 18th for the Brazilian Grand Prix, there was a reason for it.

After that session, Alonso announced he will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2019 to make his second start in an entry fielded by his Formula 1 team McLaren Racing.

Alonso made a successful debut in 2017 in a collaborative effort with Andretti Autosport, qualifying fifth and leading 27 laps before he lost an engine and retired on Lap 179.

“I’ve made clear for some time my desire to achieve the Triple Crown,” Alonso said. “I had an incredible experience at Indianapolis in 2017 and I knew in my heart of hearts I had to go back if the opportunity was there. I’m especially glad to be returning with McLaren.

“This was always my first choice if the team decided to do it, so I’m delighted they’ve decided to go ahead. It’s a tough race and we’ll be up against the best, so it will be a huge challenge. But we’re racers and that’s why we race. One of the things I’m looking forward to most is seeing the fans again, who are absolutely fantastic.”

“We are relishing our return to the Brickyard and this incredible race,” said Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing. “McLaren has a long and fond relationship with the Indianapolis 500 and it’s a case of unfinished business for us with Fernando.

“No Indy 500 is a cakewalk, it’s a massive challenge. We have the utmost respect for the race and our competitors. So, we are under no illusions. But McLaren are racers first and foremost, as is Fernando. We’re going for it.”

Barber IndyCar iRacing results

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Scott McLaughlin led the final six laps Saturday and finished 0.4241 seconds ahead of teammate Will Power to win the Honda IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.

Scott Speed finished third behind the Team Penske drivers. Alex Palou and Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top five.

Click here for the full boxscore from Saturday’s IndyCar iRacing event at Barber Motorsports Park.

WINNER: Scott McLaughlin holds off teammate Will Power

WHAT DRIVERS SAID: Postrace reactions on social media

Other notable finishers:

Colton Herta (seventh), Robert Wickens (eighth), Jimmie Johnson (12th), Graham Rahal (14th), Alexander Rossi (22nd).

Sage Karam led a race-high 24 laps but retired from the 45-lap event because of a crash and finished 27th of 29 drivers.