Scott McLaughlin wins 1st pole this IndyCar season, 2nd straight at Nashville
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Scott McLaughlin won his second straight pole Saturday at the Music City Grand Prix and the first on a street course this season for Team Penske.
The New Zealander, currently fifth in the points race, will be looking for his second win this year Sunday. He came in second here to countryman Scott Dixon “by a nose” a year ago. McLaughlin said the qualifying session probably was the best of his IndyCar career with the Chevrolet.
“That was the money one,” McLaughlin said. “That was real nice. That was juicy. So I was really happy with that one. Obviously, the same car as we ran last year.”
McLaughlin grabbed the fourth pole of his career on his final lap of the Fast Six, holding off Pato O’Ward by more than three-tenths of a second. Colton Herta of Andretti Autosport missed out on his second pole here and will start third alongside series points leader Alex Palou.
Dixon, a six-time series champ, crashed into the Turn 11 wall damaging the front of his Chip Ganassi Racing car with 18 seconds left in the Fast 12 round. He will start 12th, two spots ahead of where he started before winning on this course last year.
Linus Lundqvist, filling in for Simon Pagenaud in the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing, was the top qualifying rookie and will start 11th in his IndyCar debut. Marcus Ericsson, who won the inaugural race here in 2021, will start 20th.
Tennessee native Josef Newgarden, currently 80 points behind Palou in the points race, will start ninth. He is looking for his first win at his home course and fifth this season.
Rain shortened Saturday’s second practice to just 30 minutes and delayed qualifying nearly four hours in a revamped schedule. By the time drivers took the 2.1-mile course, the sun had dried out the streets with its 11 turns and two trips across the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge.
The 80-lap race is scheduled for noon EDT Sunday.
Qualifying for the Indy NXT race was canceled Saturday due to poor course conditions from steady rain in the Nashville area, with the starting grid set by entrant points.
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