Scott McLaughlin

Today’s question: Drivers from four teams have won NTT INDYCAR SERIES races this season – Chip Ganassi Racing, Andretti Autosport, Arrow McLaren SP and Ed Carpenter Racing. Which of the four Team Penske drivers do you think will be the first from that powerhouse to join the winners’ list in 2021?

Curt Cavin: This is a tough one, and the fact Team Penske hasn’t won a race yet – though it had four straight runner-up finishes to open the season – is one of the big surprises so far in this INDYCAR season. It’s logical to pick Josef Newgarden since has a pair of second-place finishes and had the best of the team’s cars in last year’s “500,” finishing fifth. However, Newgarden is still looking for a signature run at Indy and has led only 38 laps in nine starts here. Meanwhile, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud have combined to lead 310 laps in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and each has a likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy. So who’s my pick? I’ll say Newgarden, but Team Penske’s first win doesn’t come until the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear doubleheader June 12-13.

Zach Horrall: This is tough, because I truly believe any four of the Team Penske drivers could score a win this season, including NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Scott McLaughlin. I’m like Curt in that while this team certainly knows how to win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I just don’t know if 2021 is the year. I think Team Penske gets back to its winning form at Belle Isle in the doubleheader June 12-13, but I think it’s going to be Simon Pagenaud that gets his first win since Iowa last season. Pagenaud has quietly had a solid season with four top-10 finishes in five races. His only finish outside the top 10 was a 12th at Barber Motorsports Park, and his third-place finish on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, give me reason to think he can conquer the streets in Detroit.

Paul Kelly: The 2021 season has been the year of first-time winners, so why shouldn’t that trend continue when it comes to the initial driver to enter Victory Circle for Team Penske? My pick is Scott McLaughlin. The engaging Kiwi has shown incredible aptitude and skill in an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car after just five races, and he has produced three top-10 finishes in five starts. McLaughlin also took to ovals like a seasoned pro earlier this month at Texas, finishing a close second to circle-track master Scott Dixon in the Genesys 300. Could McLaughlin become the first rookie to win the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge since Alexander Rossi in 2016? Stranger things have happened.