Scott McLaughlin has stormed to pole position for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, beating Formula 1 podium finisher Romain Grosjean to top spot.
The Team Penske pilot laid down a 1:14.5555s at the death to usurp his Andretti Autosport rival, edging out the Frenchman by a mere 0.1420s at the chequered flag.
It marks just the second pole position effort for the three-time Supercars champion, who last started on pole position in the season-opener at St Petersburg, which he went on to win.
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Scott McLaughlin speaks after his second IndyCar pole position (Supplied)
That time around, he was also carrying support from DEX Imaging who are among McLaughlin’s rotating sponsors.
“I tell you what, this DEX car is really good man,” said McLaughlin.
“We’ve been going really fast in this car. We won the St Pete opener with it, won Mid-Ohio and the guys were in those suits, and now we’re on pole at Nashville which is an amazing race track.
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“Really proud of the DEX Imaging Chevy and the guys. The car was phenomenal. To do that on one-lap used tyres, it was the fastest lap of the qualifying session I think. It’s just one of those good laps.
“We’ve just got to keep focus and keep our heads down bums up and focus on what we need to do. Proud of this group, proud of this team. I know I’m going to have really good pit stops tomorrow. Thirsty threes have got plenty of support, so we’ll have a little bit of fun.”
Scott McLaughlin on the streets of Nashville (Supplied)
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard continued his practice pace and will start from third alongside Chip Ganassi Racing’s leading driver Alex Palou.
McLaren SP ace Pato O’Ward and McLaughlin’s teammate Josef Newgarden rounded out the Firestone Fast Six.
Will Power clocked a lap in the second leg of qualifying good enough to get him into the shootout. However, he was stripped of his best lap for drawing a yellow flag after a mistake saw him take to the escape road.
Power will start eighth just behind David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports.
The top 12 saw some unfamiliar names after an awkward incident involving Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta brought out the red flag.
That left Simon Pagenaud, Felix Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi stranded and unable to clock a lap to break into Q2.
Instead, Jack Harvey and Dalton Kellett made it through, qualifying 11th and 12th respectively. Meanwhile, Pagenaud was 13th, Rosenqvist 15th and Rossi only 17th.
McLaughlin’s countryman Scott Dixon narrowly missed out on advancing from the group stages and will start 14th.
The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix is live, ad-free and exclusively on Stan Sport from Monday at 5.00am.
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