Colton Herta takes pole in starting lineup for inaugural Music City Grand Prix in Nashville

IndyCar Nashville starting lineup
Chris Owens/IndyCar

IndyCar starting lineup: NASHVILLE — Colton Herta crushed the field in qualifying to capture the pole Saturday for the inaugural Music City Grand Prix.

The Andretti Autosport driver, who already had paced the first two practices on the 11-turn, 2.17-mile track, remained dominant on the streets of downtown Nashville by posting a 1-minute, 13.6835-second lap in his No. 26 Dallara-Honda .

Scott Dixon qualified a distant second (1:14.2327), more than a half-second behind Herta.

It’s the sixth career pole position for Herta and his first since a victory in the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg three months ago. He was able to save his faster alternate tires for the final two rounds after setting the second-quickest time in Group 2 of Round 1.

MUSIC CITY GRAND PRIXSchedules and info for watching IndyCar’s Nashville debut

VIEWER’S GUIDEWhat to watch Sunday in Nashville’s inaugural race

“It was a good lap, but what we did in Q1 really helped us,” Herta, who has won the past three times he has started first, told NBC Sports pit reporter Marty Snider. “The car is fantastic. We’re really in a league of our own. It felt amazing. Good car to take into the race tomorrow, nice and stable. So real excited.”

Alex Palou qualified third (but will start ninth because of a six-position grid penalty), followed by Alexander Rossi, Felix Roseqnvist and Romain Grosjean, who advanced to the final round after a crash penalty to Josef Newgarden.

The hometown favorite’s bid for a fourth consecutive pole position ended in Turn 11 as he slammed the wall hard with the right front of his No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet.

Because he caused a yellow at the end of the session, the two-time IndyCar champion lost his best lap time and dropped to a 12th-place starting position for the race, which will take place about 10 minutes from his house in downtown Nashville.

“Disappointing, I was just trying to make up the deficit,” Newgarden told Snider. “Good to be here in Nashville, though. Everyone has done a great job of bringing this event to this city, and this is the city where IndyCar needs to be, so I’m really proud to be from here. This is crazy cool. I’d never dreamed of this actually getting off the ground. Pretty pumped for (Sunday). Just wish we were higher up. Just trying to claw some performance back, and I overpushed.

“We’ve got a fast car. We can make something of it. It’s just going to be harder now. You can’t wreck and not get penalized. That’s on me. This is a quick weekend. You take a swing at a new track like this, it’s either right on or a little off. We’ve worked really hard at trying to be as prepared as possible. I think we’ve gotten more performance back. We were a lot closer, I just overstepped.”

Among the notables who will be coming from the rear after failing to advance from Round 1: Graham Rahal, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, Sebastien Bourdai, Rinus VeeKay, Scott McLaughlin and Takuma Sato.

Jimmie Johnson will start 25th of 27 cars Sunday after crashing in Turn 10 on his opening lap of the session.

It’s a tough break for the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, whose No. 48 Dallara-Honda had shown flashes of speed during practices Friday and Saturday while many veterans struggled. Johnson remained optimistic about his chances Sunday.

“What a bummer,” Johnson said. “I had a great day in practice and really been enjoying the course. On my out lap trying to get the tires up to temp, I was too aggressive into Turn 10 starting my lap. Locked the inside tire, found the inside wall.

“Another rookie lesson learned. I’ll file that away with that expereince. I think we’re going to have a fast car for the race.”

During a wild practice Saturday, Alexander Rossi, Scott McLaughlin and six-time champion Scott Dixon all found the wall on the tight circuit.

“It looked like a zoo out there,” Herta told Snider. “Whole bunch of exhibits in Turn 9 and Turn 4.”

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for Nashville qualifying results | Round 1, Group 1 | Round 1, Group 2 Round 2 l Round 3

PRACTICE: Session I l Session II


(Qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time and speed)


1. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 01:13.6835 (102.601)
2. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:14.2327 (101.842)


3. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 01:14.6316 (101.298)
4. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:14.6646 (101.253)


5. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 01:15.0045 (100.794)
6. (51) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 01:15.3980 (100.268)


7. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:15.1309 (100.624)
8. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:15.1354 (100.618)


9. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 01:15.1914 (100.543)
10. (29) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 01:15.3255 (100.364)


11. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:15.5016 (100.130)
12. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:15.5062 (100.124)


13. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:16.1097 (99.330)
14. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:15.4984 (100.135)


15. (06) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 01:16.3479 (99.020)
16. (14) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 01:15.6055 (99.993)


17. (45) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 01:16.4647 (98.869)
18. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 01:15.6379 (99.950)

ROW 10

19. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 01:17.1516 (97.989)
20. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:15.6685 (99.909)

ROW 11

21. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 01:17.5553 (97.479)
22. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 01:15.7029 (99.864)

ROW 12

23. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 01:18.1899 (96.688)
24. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:15.8503 (99.670)

ROW 13

25. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, no time, no speed
26. (18) Ed Jones, Honda, 01:15.8770 (99.635)

ROW 14

27. (52) Cody Ware, Honda, 01:18.0928 (96.808)

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”