McLaughlin surges to Nashville Pole

Penske Entertainment/James Black

Scott McLaughlin stormed to his second NTT IndyCar Series pole during qualifying for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix after a 90 minute rain delay.

The Firestone Fast Six battle included the Hondas of Romain Grosjean, Christian Lundgaard and Alex Palou and the Chevrolets of McLaughlin, Pato O’Ward and Josef Newgarden.

Lundgaard recovered from locking up the wheels on his first lap to set the quickest lap of 1 minute 14.7149 seconds, which at the time was a clear .5 seconds ahead of the field.

Romain Grosjean threw the next punch to scantly eclipse the Danish rookie by .0174s and hold the top spot.

McLaughlin responded by clocking the 2.1-mile street circuit in 1:14.5555 seconds to claim the pole.

“This Dex car is really good,” said the Team Penske driver. “We won the St. Pete opener with it, we won Mid-Ohio in it and now we’re on pole with it in Nashville.

“The car was phenomenal and to do that on one lap used tires – that was our fastest lap of the qualifying session I think. It was just one of those good laps.”

Grosjean held on to finish second, his first start inside the top three since the Indianapolis Road Course last August. Lundgaard ended up fifth – his best career start to date.

Alex Palou ended up fourth while Pato O’Ward completed the top five with Newgarden in tow in sixth.

David Malukas turned an impressive seventh place effort while Will Power was relegated to eighth after locking up his wheels going into Turn 9 at the end of Q2.

Graham Rahal ended up ahead of Rinus VeeKay whom rounded out the top ten.

Dalton Kellett landed some good fortune to score his best career starting position of 12th. He was part of a dramatic Q1 as a handful of incidents prevented drivers from netting a solid qualifying time.

Andretti Autosport driver Devlin DeFranchesco’s stoppage in Turn 4 truncated the session three minutes in. The session resumed three minutes later only to be halted again when Colton Herta crashed in the same spot.

Kellett advanced to Q2 while a handful of drivers missed were stopped short of advancing. The list included Simon Pagenaud who will start 13th, Felix Rosenqvist in 15th and Alexander Rossi in 17th.

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