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Supercars champ Scott McLaughlin to make IndyCar debut for Penske

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Defending Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin will try racing in another series for Team Penske this May.

McLaughlin, 26, will test a Dallara-Chevrolet next week at Circuit of the Americas in Austin before making his NTT IndyCar Series debut in the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The May 9 race (which will be broadcast on NBC) will start at 3:50 p.m. ET on the IMS road course, which is the primary type of circuit in the Supercars series. McLaughlin also tested a Penske open-wheel car for the first time last month during an IndyCar rookie evaluation test at Sebring International Raceway.

“This is an amazing opportunity – to race against some of the best open-wheel drivers in the world on one of the most historic tracks in motorsports,” McLaughlin said in a release. “It’s a driver’s dream to get a chance to race an Indy car for Team Penske.

“With the experience I gained at the test in Sebring, I know a little bit more about what to expect when I get back into the car at COTA. I just want to learn as much as I can every time I’m in the car so I can make the most of the opportunity to race with the team at the Grand Prix in Indianapolis.”

McLaughlin will join Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power in Penske’s lineup for the GP. Helio Castroneves will be fielded by the team in the Indianapolis 500 with Newgarden, Pagenaud and Power.

McLaughlin will attempt to win a third consecutive Supercars championship in the Australian-based series this year for DJR Team Penske. The New Zealand native has 35 victories and 44 pole positions over the last three seasons and also earned his first win in the legendary Bathurst 1000 race in October with co-driver Alex Premat.

McLaughlin set a series record last year with 18 victories.

“Scott has experienced tremendous success in Supercars over the last three seasons with DJR Team Penske and we believe his talent and his drive will continue to shine behind the wheel of an Indy car,” Roger Penske said in a statement. “It will be interesting to see how he continues to develop as we work up to his first race at the Indianapolis Grand Prix. We know Scott will work hard to improve with every lap and he will represent Team Penske well as he gets acclimated to the IndyCar Series.”

Since the IndyCar debut of the 2.4-mile layout in 2014, Team Penske has won five of the six races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with drivers Will Power (2015, ’17, ’18) and Simon Pagenaud (’16 and ’19). Power and Pagenaud swept wins on the road course and in the Indianapolis 500 the past two years.

In addition to IndyCar, McLaughlin also has indicated a desire to try racing in NASCAR for Team Penske. He discussed his comfort with stock cars during a 2017 episode of the NASCAR on NBC Podcast (click on the link below to hear it).

 

Robert Wickens shares more positive strides toward recovery in new video

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Robert Wickens has made massive steps since sustaining a spinal cord injury in an Aug. 19, 2018 crash at Pocono Raceway.

Since the accident, Wickens publicly has shared his recovery, often uploading videos of his physical rehabilitation on Twitter.

In his most recent update on Wednesday, Wickens shared a video of him walking on a treadmill. Fellow NTT IndyCar Series competitor Tony Kannan, who competes in triathlons during his spare time, also was visible running on the treadmill behind Wickens.

“When I am @TonyKannan [sic] age, I hope to run as fast as him…” Wickens tweeted. “Today was a good day!”

Wickens, who will turn 31 on March 13, first made his return to the IndyCar paddock in last year’s season opener in St. Petersburg. Since then, he’s made a return to the driver’s seat, piloting a specialized Acura NSX prior to the start of last year’s IndyCar race in his hometown of Toronto.

In September, Wickens fulfilled a vow to his wife Karli, by standing with her during their wedding. The new husband and wife also danced together during their reception.

Should Wickens fully recover to resume racing, Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt has stated that the team’s No. 6 entry will be available for him to drive. Wickens continues to remain as a “driver coach and consultant” for the team.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter