McLaughlin’s boss claims underdog tag

SCOTT McLaughlin holds an edge in the championship standings but his team boss believes the Ford driver is the underdog in the race for the Supercars title.

As McLaughlin prepares to go head-to-head with Shane van Gisbergen in the penultimate Supercars round in Auckland beginning Friday, DJR/Team Penske boss Ryan Story declared both his team and his driver would have to be perfect to win their one-on-one title fight with Red Bull Holden Racing.

McLaughlin holds a 14-point advantage over van Gisbergen after stealing the series lead at Mount Panorama last month.

“I would definitely say we are the underdogs,’’ Story said.

“We have been fighting from the back foot for most of the year. We have gone from having a distinct car advantage last year to being behind this year. We are doing our outmost to get the most out of it.

Scott McLaughlin holds a 14 point lead at the top of the Supercars drivers championship. Picture: Tim Hunter.Source:News Corp Australia

“But the only way we are going to get on top is for all of us to execute. We have to minimise mistakes and get it done.’’

Story credited McLaughlin for dragging his team to the top with his amazing 12 pole positions so far this season.

“Scotty is a qualifying machine,’’ Story said.

“And he has helped us out by always putting the car up the front. But we are certainly not as quick as we would like to be in race trim.

“It has caused a bit of frustration from time-to-time but Scott has shown his maturity by getting the best result on offer. He has handled and managed it well.

“He continues to grow into a well-rounded driver.’’

Supercars leader Scott McLaughlin (right) and challenger Shane van Gisbergen. The pair will renew their rivalry in Auckland this weekend. Picture: Mark HorsburghSource:Supplied

Story conceded McLaughlin could be forced into a championship chase with the all new ZB Commodore expected to be strong at the Auckland Super Sprint this weekend after Van Gisbergen and Holden teammate Jamie Whincup won both races in the 2017 running of the race.

“Triple Eight cars are traditionally very strong at Pukekohe,’’ Story said.

“I think we can be quick but Triple Eight are going to be mega out of the box. We just need to keep them in sight.’’

Mostert breaks his drought0:00

Supercars: Chaz Mostert took the checkered flag in Race 1 of the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 on Saturday.

Story said fighting from behind could be an advantage after McLaughlin lost last year’s championship by surrendering a seemingly unbeatable lead to Whincup in a last race horror show at Newcastle.

“Being the chaser takes a bit of the pressure off,’’ Story said.

“It reduces expectation and that would suit us. There is really nothing in it right now and we are going to take it all the way down to the wire.’’

Scott McLaughlin gets some air during practice for the Gold Coast 600. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

Story said perfection would help his team to their first title as a merged outfit.

“It is all about execution,’’ Story said.

“The name of the game for us between now and Newcastle is just to gather up as much points as we can. We need to be as competitive as we can and if we can’t win the race then we need to finish with as many points as possible.

“We just need to be there at the end.’’


1 Scott McLaughlin 3368

2 Shane van Gisbergen 3354

3 Jamie Whincup 2935

4 Craig Lowndes 2925

5 David Reynolds 2687



11.15am Practice one

3.10pm Practice two


10.25am Practice three

1,40pm Qualifying

4.10pm Race one


11.05am Qualifying

1.55pm Top-10 shootout

4.10pm Race two

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Originally published as McLaughlin’s boss claims underdog tag

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