By: Spencer Neff
2023 Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix Results
A three-stop strategy proved to be the winning call for Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin at Barber Motorsports Park. He and the “Thirsty 3s” as he refers to his No. 3 crew were able to play the extra stop to their advantage, countering the conventional two-stop approach used for this race.
The Christchurch, New Zealand native passed Andretti Autosport’s Romain Grosjean with 19 laps to go in Sunday’s 90-lap Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix.
Winning the fourth NTT INDYCAR SERIES race of his career, the 2021 INDYCAR Rookie of the Year became the fourth winner in as many races to start 2023.
After starting on the pole and leading a race-high 57 laps, Grosjean would finish second for the fifth time in his career. The driver of the No. 28 was 1.7854 seconds back of McLaughlin as he is still in search of his first win.
Two-time and defending series champion Will Power bookended the podium for Team Penske, his first Top Three finish of 2023.
The organization has now won a series-leading seven races at Barber Motorsports Park, one of two organizations to win multiple races at the event (Andretti Autosport has 2).
By finishing 10th, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson retains his points lead by three over today’s fourth-place finisher, Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward.
Ericsson’s teammate Alex Palou finished fifth and is third in points with McLaughlin and Grosjean completing the Top 5.
After starting 26th following a penalty in Qualifying, CGR Rookie Marcus Armstrong rebounded to finish 11th in his first race on a permanent road course.
He maintains the lead spot in the Rookie of the Year standings over Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Agustin Canapino. Canapino, the best among the three full-time rookies in the points standings, finished 26th.
Slowed by just one caution for three laps (matching the 2022 totals), the race was run at an average speed of 115.019 mph, fastest of the 13 races held at the 2.3-mile 17-turn road course. During the event, 175 passes (all for position) were made.
The action got off to a fierce start with Palou and O’Ward challenging for the lead on the opening lap. Palou would continue to press Grosjean for the lead while keeping tire and fuel conservation in mind.
Further back, Arrow McLaren’s Rosenqvist’s spun after light contact from Newgarden. Both drivers continued on but Rosenqvist fell as far back as 27th with Newgarden reporting issues with his Team Penske Chevrolet.
After stopping on Lap 30, Grosjean relinquished the lead for the first time of the day.
Working the alternate strategy from the initial front-runners were Newgarden and teammate McLaughlin, before the latter made the pass for the lead, prompting the No. 2 to make an early stop to switch to used alternate tires.
On Lap 39, the caution flag was displayed as Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing’s Sting Ray Robb stalled in the grass by Turn 9.
The No. 51 rookie was the only DNF (Did not Finish) in today’s race. Each of the 26 other drivers completed all 90 laps.
After a four-lap caution and a handful of subsequent pit stops, Grosjean found his way back to the lead until his final stop of the day on Lap 60. McLaughlin would take over the lead from there until his last stop on Lap 63.
During McLaughlin’s out lap, he and Grosjean engaged in another fierce battle. Unlike their collision at the St. Petersburg opener, both drivers made out cleanly with the latter driver ahead.
With 18 laps to go and Grosjean out of the 200 seconds of “Push to Pass” horsepower boost, the No. 28 ran wide in Turn 5. That would be more than enough for McLaughlin to get by for the lead. McLaughlin would not look back as Grosjean held off Power for second.
Following a week off, the month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway begins with the GMR Grand Prix on the 2.438-mile, 14-turn road course. The schedule for the weekend is posted below.
IndyCar1909 will be on site at IMS for the month during all on-track activities. Stay with us for all the latest on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. All pre-race on-track sessions are broadcast live exclusively on Peacock.
FRIDAY, MAY 12
9:30 AM – 10:45 AM ET: Practice 1 (75 minutes)
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM ET:Practice 2 (45 Minutes)
4:00 PM – 5:15 PM ET-Qualifications (three rounds)
SATURDAY, MAY 13
11:15 AM – 11:45 AM ET:NTT INDYCAR SERIES – Warmup (30 minutes)
3:30 PM – 6:00 PM ET (GMR Grand Prix-85 Laps) (NBC/Peacock)
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