IndyCar | Firestone Grand Prix | McLaughlin beats Power to secure his maiden IndyCar pole

Team Penske drivers Scott McLaughlin and Will Power secure a front row lock out after qualifying 1-2 for the Firestone Grand Prix while Romain Grosjean and Colton Herta of Andretti Autosport trail behind in the Fast 6.

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IndyCar | Firestone Grand Prix | McLaughlin beats Power to secure his maiden IndyCar pole
Fuente imagen: Chris Jones /Penske Entertainment

Leading a strong second practice session on the streets of St. Petersburg, Scott McLaughlin scored his first NTT P1 award for team Penske and will be starting from pole for the first race of the season for the Firestone Grand Prix in Florida.

The former Supercars champion put down a time of  59.4821 in the final round of qualifying while his teammate Will Power set the second fastest lap time at 59.6058. 

After securing his first pole in the IndyCar series McLaughlin expressed how content he was working with his team, especially Penske engineer Ben Bretzman ,whom he never worked with before. 

“I love qualifying, and you’ve got to put it all on the line,” he said.

 “I’m working really well with Ben Bretzman. The DEX Imaging Chevy, the car is just phenomenal. I’m super proud of everyone. I just feel confident, and now I’m so happy.”


Colton Herta set the fastest time for the first group on red Firestone tires at 59.4662 while his Andretti Autosport teammate Alexander Rossi was eliminated and did not advance into the fast 12. Along with Rossi, Hélio Castroneves, Felix Rosenqvst and Jack Harvey were among the other veteran drivers who missed out on the next qualifying round. The three rookies Christian Lundgaard, Tatiana Calderón, and Callum Ilott failed to move on to the next round as well.  

There was more excitement with the second group of  drivers as the tack temperature heated up throughout the day. Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’ Ward hit the wall coming out of turn 9 and rookie David Malukas received a penalty for impending Jimmie Johnson. Malkus had to give up his two fastest lap times which prevented him from moving into the next qualifying session. The remainder of the drivers who could not set a fast enough time to move on to the next round included Dalton KelletDevlin DeFrancesco and Takuma Sato.

During the second round of qualifying Power put down a mega lap of  59.3466  breaking the previous fastest track time that has ever been recorded of 1:00.0476 held by Jordan King in 2018.

However it was a disappointing session for the Chip Ganassi Racing team as all three drivers Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, and Alex Palou failed to make it into the Fast 6. Six time IndyCar series champion Scott Dixon also fell victim to the infamous turn 9,  hitting the wall on a set of black tires which ended his session early. Josef Newgarden was the only Penske driver to not get into the Fast 6, while Graham Rahal and Kyle Kirkwood joined the remainder of the drivers who were eliminated. 

It was a battle of the Penske drivers till the last lap in the Fast 6 round between McLaughlin and Power. The Australian driver admitted he could have done better and praised his teammate for his solid effort.

“That was two good laps I did,” Power said. 

“I could have done better on the first; I made a little mistake on the back straight. I think Scott got the most out of it. That was a solid lap.”


Romain Grojean had a solid qualifying session and was able to bounce back from his accident with Takuma Sato that occurred earlier in the day during  the second practice. The Frenchman’s fastest lap of 59.811 landed him a fifth place spot in qualifying while Andretti Autosport teammate Herta who qualified fourth wasn't fast enough with a final lap time of 59.7104 to make it to the front row. Dutch driver Rinus Veekay earned his spot amongst the Fast 6 drivers and managed to beat out both Simon Pagenaud and Grosjean for fourth place in qualifying.       

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