McLaughlin starts second IndyCar season with sensational pole - The Race
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McLaughlin starts second IndyCar season with sensational pole

Feb 26 2022
By Josh Suttill

Scott McLaughlin beat his Team Penske team-mate and St Petersburg specialist Will Power to earn his maiden IndyCar pole position at the 2022 season-opener.

McLaughlin had topped the final practice session before qualifying and was right in the mix during IndyCar’s Fast Six pole shootout.

Power set two laps good enough to top the session until McLaughlin’s last-ditch effort moved him up to pole on a 59.4821s.

It meant McLaughlin – who had near zero single-seater experience before leaving Australia’s Supercars touring cars series for IndyCar at the end of 2020 after three straight titles – claimed his first IndyCar pole and he’ll share the front row of the grid with Power after beating him by 0.1237s.

McLaughlin had only once previously qualified in the top 10 in his short IndyCar career.

Power has taken nine of the last 12 IndyCar poles at St Pete but had to settle for second, with Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta rounding out the top three.

Ed Carpenter Racing driver Rinus VeeKay was fourth ahead of Andretti’s Romain Grosjean, who recovered from a practice crash with Takuma Sato that left him with bruises.

The top six was completed by Simon Pagenaud in his first qualifying session with the Meyer Shank Racing outfit.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s leading trio of drivers all failed to advance to the Fast Six with six-time Scott Dixon seventh ahead of ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson.

Dixon survived on a brush with the Turn 9 wall while on the black primary tyres and then believed he missed the optimum window on his red soft tyre run.

Penske’s two-time series champion Josef Newgarden was ninth with unspecified “issues” and “things in the background working against us”, and defending champion Alex Palou rounded out the top 10.

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Graham Rahal had two new team-mates alongside him at Rahal Letterman Lanigan but neither were able to outqualify him. Rahal claimed 11th on the grid ahead of the highest-placed 2022 rookie Kyle Kirkwood in his first IndyCar qualifying session.

Alexander Rossi just missed out on a place in the Fast 12 and will line up 13th as a crucial year with Andretti begins.

AJ Foyt’s Dalton Kellett earned his best IndyCar qualifying result in 14th place ahead of RLLR’s newcomer Christian Lundgaard and Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward – who bent a tow-link when he clipped the wall at Turn 9.

MSR driver Helio Castroneves will share the ninth row with Andretti rookie Devlin DeFrancesco, ahead of Callum Ilott (Juncos Racing) and Conor Daly (ECR).

Like his McLaren team-mate O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist was unable to advance and will start 21st – where he finished in last year’s drivers’ championship after a difficult first year with the team.

Sato was 22nd in his first qualifying session with Dale Coyne Racing ahead of RLLR’s other new recruit Jack Harvey and Sato’s rookie team-mate David Malukas.

The back row of the grid will be compromised of ex-Super Formula and Formula 2 driver Tatiana Calderon and Ganassi’s Jimmie Johnson.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Team Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Scott McLaughlin Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 59.584s 59.515s 59.482s
2 Will Power Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 59.392s 59.346s 59.605s
3 Colton Herta Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Dallara DW12-Honda 59.466s 59.405s 59.71s
4 Rinus VeeKay Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 59.804s 59.623s 59.81s
5 Romain Grosjean Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda 59.626s 59.555s 59.811s
6 Simon Pagenaud Meyer Shank Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 59.703s 59.588s 1m0.204s
7 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 59.81s 59.757s
8 Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 59.881s 59.824s
9 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 59.914s 59.886s
10 Alex Palou Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 59.895s 59.958s
11 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 59.776s 59.987s
12 Kyle Kirkwood A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 59.853s 1m0.261s
13 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda 59.993s
14 Dalton Kellett A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 59.952s
15 Christian Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 1m0.027s
16 Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 1m0.002s
17 Hélio Castroneves Meyer Shank Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 1m0.142s
18 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda 1m0.085s
19 Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Racing Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 1m0.212s
20 Conor Daly Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 1m0.192s
21 Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren SP Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 1m0.391s
22 Takuma Sato Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Dallara DW12-Honda 1m0.293s
23 Jack Harvey Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 1m0.533s
24 David Malukas Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsport Dallara DW12-Honda 1m0.46s
25 Tatiana Calderón A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 1m0.939s
26 Jimmie Johnson Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 1m01.027s

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