Tucked on the banks of the Willamette River near the ports of Portland’s Swan Island sits the picturesque Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) headquarters. Around the sprawling campus, it is common to see Freightliner trucks of all shapes and sizes, but Wednesday morning, Aug. 31 brought the unusual sight of a Team Penske race car transporter making its way down Interstate Avenue being pulled by a Freightliner eCascadia model.
Team Penske transporters have been pulled by a Freightliner to every NTT INDYCAR SERIES race since 1984. But this marked the first time an electric version of the popular truck brand had been used in such a manner. The unit was on its way to meet two-time race winner Scott McLaughlin at DTNA’s “Electric Island” charging station where the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year McLaughlin brought his No. 3 Freightliner Chevrolet and the truck that was wrapped in the same e-mobility scheme.
McLaughlin visited the DTNA headquarters in advance of Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland, the penultimate race of the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule, met with employees and took a turn in the American Truck Simulator that sits in the company’s lobby.
New Zealand native McLaughlin felt right at home among the DTNA crowd. McLaughlin grew up in a transportation family. His father, Wayne, owned a transportation company with locations in New Zealand and Australia, and McLaughlin held the Australian version of a Commercial Drivers License.
This trip was about more than simulators and autographs, though. McLaughlin also was there to highlight the continued integration of electric trucks into the Penske Truck Leasing's fleet and over 390,000 vehicles.
“It is an honor to represent the Penske brand because they are an industry leader in so many areas,” McLaughlin said. “They have been at the forefront of electric trucks since becoming the first company to take delivery of a Freightliner eCascadia in 2018. We’re now seeing that carry over into the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with electric trucks, sustainable Firestone guayule tires and renewable Shell fuel that will debut next year.”
After revving up DTNA employees about seeing their car compete this weekend at Portland International Raceway, McLaughlin climbed into the cab and rode with his No. 3 Chevy to PIR. Never before had an electric truck transported an INDYCAR SERIES car to the racetrack.
“I could have easily driven the truck myself, but with my race car in the back I was happy to just be a passenger on that trip,” McLaughlin said. “We had some great runs in the Freightliner livery at Iowa, and I’m confident that we can start the West Coast swing off with another great run this weekend at Portland. We’re a long shot for the championship, but we have a shot and that is pretty amazing in our second year in the series.”
McLaughlin is sixth in the championship standings, 54 points behind leader and teammate Will Power. NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network will broadcast the Grand Prix of Portland live at 3 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 4.