Nashville IndyCar: McLaughlin beats Grosjean to pole

Scott McLaughlin delivered his second career pole with top qualifying time for the Big Machine Music City GP, beating a resurgent Romain Grosjean, after lightning during a rainstorm caused a 90-minute delay.

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Firestone Fast Six

Five of six drivers emerged from the pits on alternate tires, with only Josef Newgarden coming out on primaries and with enough fuel to last him throughout the session.

Christian Lundgaard had a long lock-up on his alternate tires braking into Turn 4, allowing Scott McLaughlin to take top spot with a 1min15.2275sec. Lundgaard on fresh alternates then delivered a 1min14.7149sec, but he was beaten by 0.0174sec by Andretti Autosport-Honda’s Romain Grosjean.

However, McLaughlin saved his best ’til last to land a 1min14.5555, 0.142sec faster than Grosjean.

Palou was 0.35sec shy but marginally ahead of O’Ward, while Newgarden’s tire tactic didn’t work, almost 0.6sec from pole.

P

Name

FTime

Diff

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Tire

Team

1

Scott McLaughlin

1:14.5555

-

3

3

101.401

Chevy

A

Team Penske

2

Romain Grosjean

1:14.6975

0.1420

3

3

101.208

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

3

Christian Lundgaard

1:14.7149

0.1594

3

3

101.185

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

4

Alex Palou

1:14.9087

0.3532

4

4

100.923

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

5

Pato O'Ward

1:14.9261

0.3706

3

3

100.899

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

6

Josef Newgarden

1:15.1461

0.5906

4

4

100.604

Chevy

P

Team Penske

 

Q2

Palou went straight out on alternates and soon emerged on top with a 1min15.4413, although Scott McLaughlin beat him by two tenths on primaries. The next driver to hit the top was Christian Lundgaard, despite serving a drive-through penalty for impeding another driver, and on his second lap on the alternates he delivered a 1min14.8086 to shade Josef Newgarden and Will Power, before Scott McLaughlin hit the top spot with a 14.6788sec.

Then Palou moved to the top by 0.0351sec while Romain Grosjean and Christian Lundgaard got through ahead of Newgarden. Will Power should have been through, but he slid into the Turn 9 run-off, and that caused a local yellow flag that briefly impeded Pato O’Ward. That meant Power had his best lap deleted, dropping him to eighth, and appropriately allowed O’Ward into the Firestone Fast Six.

P

Name

FTime

Diff

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Tire

Team

1

Alex Palou

1:14.6437

-

6

7

101.281

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

2

Scott McLaughlin

1:14.6788

0.0351

5

6

101.234

Chevy

A

Team Penske

3

Romain Grosjean

1:14.7679

0.1242

6

6

101.113

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

4

Christian Lundgaard

1:14.8086

0.1649

5

5

101.058

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

5

Josef Newgarden

1:14.8284

0.1847

5

7

101.031

Chevy

A

Team Penske

6

Pato O'Ward

1:14.9373

0.2936

5

7

100.884

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

7

David Malukas

1:14.9616

0.3179

5

6

100.852

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing with HMD

8

Will Power

1:14.9818

0.3381

7

7

100.824

Chevy

A

Team Penske

9

Graham Rahal

1:15.3112

0.6675

5

6

100.383

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

10

Rinus VeeKay

1:15.3897

0.7460

7

7

100.279

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

11

Jack Harvey

1:15.9758

1.3321

6

6

99.505

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

12

Dalton Kellett

1:16.5600

1.9163

5

6

98.746

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

 

Q1 Group 2

On primaries, Penske’s Will Power went fastest, clocking a 1min15.5796sec lap, ahead of Arrow McLaren SP-Chevy, Pato O’Ward, Scott McLaughlin, Christian Lundgaard before everyone pitted for alternates. Power then lowered his time by half a second, but that wasn’t enough to prevent McLaughlin shading him by 0.037sec, before Power set a 1min14.7460 and pitted. McLaughlin also ducked into the 14.7s, and pitted, while Lundgaard and Graham Rahal ensured all three Rahal Letterman Lanigan cars advanced to Q2, looking at least as strong as they did in Toronto.

Romain Grosjean became the only Andretti Autosport-Honda to graduate, while Pato O’Ward’s Arrow McLaren SP-Chevy got through. Those who didn’t included Ganassi’s title contenders Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson, the pair split by Kyle Kirkwood who was disappointed not to pull through having been fifth quickest in second practice.

P

Name

FTime

Diff

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Tire

Team

1

Will Power

1:14.7460

-

6

6

101.143

Chevy

A

Team Penske

2

Scott McLaughlin

1:14.7742

0.0282

6

6

101.104

Chevy

A

Team Penske

3

Christian Lundgaard

1:14.8331

0.0871

6

6

101.025

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

4

Romain Grosjean

1:15.1382

0.3922

6

6

100.615

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

5

Pato O'Ward

1:15.1494

0.4034

6

7

100.600

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

6

Graham Rahal

1:15.2383

0.4923

5

6

100.481

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

7

Scott Dixon

1:15.3179

0.5719

6

6

100.375

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

8

Kyle Kirkwood

1:15.4382

0.6922

6

6

100.214

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

9

Marcus Ericsson

1:15.4501

0.7041

6

6

100.199

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

10

Takuma Sato

1:15.5935

0.8475

5

6

100.009

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing w/RWR

11

Conor Daly

1:16.3955

1.6495

6

7

98.959

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

12

Helio Castroneves

1:16.5898

1.8438

6

6

98.708

Honda

A

Meyer Shank Racing

13

Jimmie Johnson

1:17.5888

2.8428

6

6

97.437

Honda

P

Chip Ganassi Racing

 

Q1 Group 1

With six minutes remaining Devlin DeFrancesco’s car came to a halt at Turn 4, causing a red flag and thus eliminated himself from qualifying. This came before anyone had set a meaningful lap on primaries, prompting everyone to then emerge from the pits on the alternate tires – green sidewalled for this event to signify the fact that Firestone has constructed the sidewalls from guayule, a sustainable plant.

With a minute remaining, the battle for top spot appeared to be between Josef Newgarden, Alex Palou and Colton Herta, but then last year’s polesitter Herta locked up going into Turn 4 and slid into the tire wall. His car stalled, and that brought out the red flag once more. That ended the session, leaving two potential Firestone Fast Six contenders – teammate Alexander Rossi and Felix Rosenqvist – unable to graduate having not set a representative time.

Those who did get through to Q2 were Alex Palou (Ganassi-Honda), Jack Harvey (Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda), David Malukas (Dale Coyne Racing with HMD-Honda), Josef Newgarden (Penske-Chevrolet), Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet) and – for the first time ever – Dalton Kellett of AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet.

P

Name

FTime

Diff

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Tire

Team

1

Alex Palou

1:15.9983

-

4

5

99.476

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

2

Jack Harvey

1:16.6324

0.6341

4

4

98.653

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

3

David Malukas

1:16.6882

0.6899

4

5

98.581

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing with HMD

4

Josef Newgarden

1:16.7541

0.7558

4

5

98.496

Chevy

A

Team Penske

5

Rinus VeeKay

1:17.7101

1.7118

4

5

97.285

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

6

Dalton Kellett

1:17.7521

1.7538

3

4

97.232

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

7

Simon Pagenaud

1:19.4039

3.4056

3

4

95.209

Honda

A

Meyer Shank Racing

8

Felix Rosenqvist

1:21.1784

5.1801

1

5

93.128

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

9

Alexander Rossi

1:21.4579

5.4596

4

5

92.809

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

10

Callum Ilott

1:57.6982

41.6999

3

4

64.232

Chevy

A

Juncos Hollinger Racing

11

Colton Herta

3:26.3303

130.3320

4

4

36.640

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport w/Curb-Agajanian

12

Devlin DeFrancesco

No Time

---

--

1

---

Honda

A

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

13

Simona De Silvestro

1:30.3065

14.3082

1

1

83.715

Chevy

P

Paretta Autosport

 

 

 

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