Scott McLaughlin signs multiyear extension with Penske entering IndyCar season finale

Scott McLaughlin Penske multiyear
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MONTEREY, California — IndyCar newcomer Scott McLaughlin is here to stay with a multiyear contract extension from Team Penske just as the New Zealander heads into his first championship race since joining the series.

The extension announced Wednesday is the third in a month given out by Roger Penske, who also recently extended the contracts of NASCAR drivers Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano.

McLaughlin, who was last year’s IndyCar rookie of the year in a class that included Romain Grosjean and Jimmie Johnson, heads into Sunday’s season finale mathematically in the title hunt. His win last week at Portland was his third of the season and moved him to fifth in the standings, 41 points behind teammate and IndyCar leader Will Power.

INDYCAR AT LAGUNA SECADetails, schedules for watching the season finale on NBC

MORE PENSKE HISTORY? Trio has a chance for a 1-2-3 championship finish at Laguna Seca

McLaughlin moved to IndyCar after winning three consecutive titles driving for Penske in Australian V8 Supercars. The 29-year-old assumed Penske was moving him to NASCAR but instead he was slotted for IndyCar.

“Really for him it was a bit of a risk to say, `Hey, let’s jump over and do IndyCar.’ I think he probably had more confidence in doing something with the roof over his head,” Penske team president Tim Cindric said. “But he was certainly attracted to racing in America and really hadn’t considered too much about IndyCar until we talked to him about how he thought that transition might go.

“I felt like after spending so much time with him in Australia that he had the ingredients really to drive any kind of race car and be successful,” Cindric added. “I think everybody has really seen what we saw in him when he won the three Supercar titles for us.”

McLaughlin first joined Team Penske in 2017 and finished second in the Supercars championship with a series-high eight wins and record 16 poles. He won three consecutive titles from 2019 to 2020 and won 40 races in a four-year span, including a series-record 18 wins in 2019.

McLaughlin also gave Penske its first win in the the prestigious Bathurst 1000 when he won from the pole in 2019.

He moved to IndyCar with nothing left to accomplish in supercars and showed steady improvement last season, then got his first career victory in this year’s opener. His second win was in July at Mid-Ohio and he dominated last Sunday at Portland by leading all but six of the 110 laps.

“Team Penske has been such a huge part of my career, helping me get to where I’m at today, so I’m excited to continue racing with Roger, Tim and the entire team well into the future,” McLaughlin said. “Getting a chance to move to the United States and chase my racing dream, driving in the IndyCar Series, is something that would not have been possible without Team Penske, so I’m forever grateful.

“We are competing at a high level, winning races and poles and even competing for the series championship. I can’t wait to see what the future holds with Team Penske.”

McLaughlin will race teammates Power and Josef Newgarden, as well as Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson, for the title Sunday at Laguna Seca Raceway. It’s the tightest championship race since 2003.

2023 MotoGP schedule announced, highlighted by trips to India and Kazakhstan

2023 MotoGP schedule
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A new opening venue and the addition of two Grands Prix in India and Kazakhstan will highlight the 2023 MotoGP schedule.

The 2023 MotoGP season will kick off March 24th with the opening round in Portugal instead of the typical trip to Qatar. Work on the Losail International Circuit pushed their date back to the penultimate weekend after the series finishes a series of races around the Pacific Rim.

Following Portugal, MotoGP heads to Argentina and the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas for their only visit to the United States before heading back to Europe for most of the next 10 rounds.

Interrupting the long European stint will be the series’ first visit to the Sokol International Circuit in Kazakhstan on July 7, 2023. The traditional summer break will be three weeks and then MotoGP heads to England for the British GP in August.

After three more European rounds at Austria, Catalunya and San Marino, the second new date on the calendar will come on the 16-turn, Buddh International Circuit for a September 24 race date. Both the India and Kazakhstan races are subject to homologation and approval by the circuit.

The next six races will be held in Asia and Oceania before Qatar and Valencia close out the schedule.

“We’re very proud to announce that Buddh International Circuit will be on the 2023 calendar,” said Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna, which manages the series. “We have a lot of fans in India and we’re excited to be able to bring the sport to them.

“India is also a key market for the motorcycle industry and therefore, by extension, for MotoGP as the pinnacle of the two-wheeled world. We very much look forward to racing at Buddh International Circuit and can’t wait to welcome the fans through the gates to see this incredible sport in person.”

One of two new races announced for 2022, in Finland, did not materialize this season and has not been added to the 2023 MotoGP schedule. In addition, the Aragon GP has been removed to keep the rounds at 21.

2023 Provisional Schedule

Portugal GP, Algarve, March 26
Argentina GP, Termas de Río Hondo, April 2
American GP, Circuit of the Americas, April 16
Spanish GP, Jerez, April 30
French GP, Le Mans, May 14
Italian GP, Mugello, June 11
German GP, Sachsenring, June 18
Dutch GP, Assen, June 25
Kazakhstan GP, Sokol, July 9 *
British GP, Silverstone, August 6
Austrian GP, Red Bull Ring, August 20
Catalan GP, Catalunya, September 3
San Marino GP, Misano, September 10
Indian GP, Buddh, September 24 *
Japanese GP, Motegi, October 1
Indonesia GP, Mandalika Street Circuit, October 15
Australian GP, Philip Island, October 22
Thailand GP, Chang International Circuit, October 29
Malaysian GP, Sepang, November 12
Qatar GP, Losail International Circuit, November 19
Valencia GP, Ricardo Tormo, November 26

* subject to approval