McLaughlin subsequently underwent a concussion test at the trackside medical centre, which he passed, and was then cleared to return to his team.
However, a television interview where he’d declared “my motherhood is hurting” and slurred several words raised alarms with his team boss Ryan Story and fiancé Karly Paone.
“I can hardly remember saying that… I don’t know what I was thinking,” McLaughlin said on the latest episode of his Balls and Bumpers podcast.
“The doctors don’t really know me, right? So it’s people like Ryan Story and Karly who noticed on the interviews that I was slurring a little bit and mixing up my words.
“The first medical check I was cracking jokes, I was like ‘let’s go and have a beer and watch the race with the team’. But I went downhill after that last Fox Sports interview.”
Complaining of a sore neck, McLaughlin returned to the medical centre, where he was put in a neck brace and sent to Gold Coast University Hospital via ambulance for further tests.
“I went to the hospital, I was lying on the bed for about 40 minutes, there were like 400 doctors around me, it was full-on,” McLaughlin continued.
“I was stuck in that neck brace which was so incredibly uncomfortable and then they said we want to take you for a CT scan on your head and neck to check it’s alright, it should take five minutes.
“But it took 15 or 20 minutes and I thought ‘this is weird’. When we came out no one was really talking to me and stuff.
“They said ‘we just saw a bit of an anomaly on the brain, it’s meant to be 50:50, parallel, what the brain looks like, but it does look like yours has moved in some ways and there’s a little bit of fluid or substance there, something like that, so we’re going to have to do an MRI, we don’t know, it could be bleeding, it could be whatever’.
“There were three hours there before the MRI where I was absolutely shitting myself, everything is going through my head, me and Karly, sort of sitting there crying and stuff because it’s like ‘what’s going to happen?’.
“Life in general has just been flipped upsidedown obviously straight away. You just think the worst, right?”
McLaughlin was then taken in for an MRI, which he says took another 30 minutes, before the all-clear came while he watched the end of the Sunday race.
“Thankfully before the MRI they checked my neck was alright, so I was all clear with the neck, which was really nice. I had the neck brace off just being pushed around in a wheel chair,” he continued.
“Then I went to the MRI and they checked it all and an hour later, I was watching the end of the Supercars race, a doctor came in and said ‘you’ve got the all-clear, you’re ready to get back into it, you’ve just got to chill out for a few days or a week or so'.
“I’ve still got to go through a check-up before Sandown, but it should be pretty good.
“The relief and stuff after that, you just think the worst straight away, right? I was just so nervous. I probably sound like a bit of a sook but I did tear up a bit, well up a bit, I was just like ‘thank god’ and just gave Karly a big hug and kiss.”
Sent home to rest, McLaughlin cancelled a planned trip to New Zealand this week and says he remains sore in the neck and shoulders, as well as where the seatbelts cover the body.
It is yet to be decided whether McLaughlin will get a shakedown run in his new Mustang before the November 8-10 Penrite Oil Sandown 500, with the team currently racing the clock to build the car.
McLaughlin will aim to clinch a second straight Supercars title at Sandown, still holding a comfortable 463-point lead over Sunday’s winner Shane van Gisbergen.