(NASHVILLE,TN) – Scott McLaughlin wasn’t going to let mother nature defeat him today. After an hour and half weather delay along with laying down the quickest lap in the morning practice session (1:15.46), McLaughlin outlasted 25 other cars to capture the NTT P1 Award for Sunday’s NTT IndyCar Series Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.

It was McLaughlin’s 2nd pole of the year, 1st coming on the streets of St. Petersburg and 6th for Team Penske in 2022 as the No. 3 DEX Imaging Chevrolet turned an unmatchable lap of 1:14.55. After scoring the pole, McLaughlin now becomes the sole leader in poles at Team Penske, he was previously tied with Helio Castroneves.

Fast 6 Results

Qualifying Results

Behind McLaughlin was Andretti Autosport’s Romain Grosjean, who qualified P2 and saved what proved to be an error-filled qualifying session for his teammates. Grosjean’s No. 28 DHL Honda wasn’t that far behind McLaughlin, nor was Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard in the No. 30 Shield Cleansers Honda. 

“Really proud of the guys and the car was phenomenal,” McLaughlin said. “It was one of those good laps.”

For Grosjean, the good start comes after 5 consecutive qualifying positions of 10th or worse.

“It feels good. It feels really good,” Grosjean said. “Good job for all my [Andretti crew]. I’m glad to be second on the grid tomorrow.”

Lundgaard, who was the fastest on Friday is looking like a rookie who’s performing like a veteran in the closing stages of the season.

“It was a very exciting session and we’re making progress, which is important,” Lundgaard added.

Following Lundgaard, the rest of the Fast 6 was completed by Alex Palou from Chip Ganassi Racing in the No. 10 NTT Data Honda, Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward in the No. 5 Chevrolet and Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden in the No. 2 PPG Chevrolet. 

Elsewhere, current championship points leader Will Power was in contention to compete for pole, but after finding himself into a runoff section and bringing out a local yellow flag during the Fast 12 session, his fastest lap was surrendered per the rules, and in an instant, he was demoted from P6 to P8 as O’Ward was promoted into the Fast 6.

After an error by Andretti Autosport’s Devlin DeFrancesco in the No. 29 Powertap Honda at the start of the 1st qualifying round which caused a red flag and he was relegated to P25. Next, Andretti Autosport teammate Colton Herta reshaped the starting grid in a significant way after he crashed and triggered another red flag in his No. 26 Gainbridge Honda. With quiet a few Fast 12 contenders on their fastest laps, the session went red when Herta went into the tires and stalled with 1 minute left. The session was not restarted. So 3 of the 4 Andretti Autosport drivers, including 2 who were expected to take a run at pole didn’t make it out of round 1.

That left Simon Pagenaud in the No. 60 Sirius XM // Auto Nation Honda starting P13, Felix Rosenqvist in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet starting P15, a visible angry Alexander Rossi in the No. 27 NAPA // Auto Nation Honda starting P17, Callum Ilott in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet starting P19 and Herta starting P21 with a lot of ground to make up in the 80-lap race on Sunday.

“A little too ambitious for what the conditions were,” Herta said of the fresh track that had its rubber washed away when the skies opened. “I feel really bad. I screwed myself; I screwed Rossi and probably a few other guys that were just innocent bystanders.”

A smart call by Dalton Kellett’s team in the No. 4 K-Line Chevrolet to send him straight out on the faster alternate tires which paid off when Herta’s mistake stopped the session with his fastest lap already in the bank, the others who were affected by the red flag and many who chose not to set an early lap were out-foxed by the A.J. Foyt Racing crew as the Canadian earned his 1st trip to the Fast 12, where he went on to take P12.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s recent qualifying struggles continued on Saturday as only Palou its lowest-placed driver in the championship race made it through into the Firestone Fast 12. Citing a basic lack of speed, title contender & Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson’s streak of terrible starting positions was preserved with a run to P18 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda along with teammate Scott Dixon, a few spots ahead in P14 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda.

The final bright spot of note came with RLL’s overall performance as the beleaguered Jack Harvey in the No. 45 Hy-vee Honda earned a start of P11, his 2nd-best this year on a road or street course and when added to Graham Rahal’s run in the No. 15 United Rentals Honda to P9 and Lundgaard’s P3, the RLL team is showing flashes of the form that was expected earlier in the year.

Next on the track, tomorrow (August 7th) at 10:15 A.M. / ET for warm-up.