IndyCar Nashville starting lineup: Scott McLaughlin wins pole for Team Penske

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Scott McLaughlin won the second pole of his IndyCar career, and Romain Grosjean and Christian Lundgaard earned their highest starting spots of the season in the starting lineup for Sunday’s Music City Grand Prix (3 p.m. ET, NBC).

McLaughlin won the pole on a flying final run around the 11-turn, 2.1-mile course in Saturday’s session, which started 90 minutes late because of weather delays, and a sloppy, shortened first qualifying group left some drivers steaming with anger in the hot, humid Nashville post-rain conditions.

The Team Penske driver was also fastest in Saturday morning practice. The New Zealand native opened the season by winning from the pole in St. Petersburg, Florida, for his first career victory.

INDYCAR AT NASHVILLESchedules, details for watching this weekend on NBC

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for the full report from Nashville l Round 1, Group 1 l Round 1, Group 2 l Round 2 l Fast Six

TIRE DESIGNATIONS: Starting lineup with initial choices on compound

“This car was phenomenal,” McLaughlin told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee of the No. 3 Dallara-Chevrolet. “One of those good laps. Hopefully, more of the same (Sunday). Heads down, bums up and focus on what we need to do.”

Grosjean qualified second for Andretti Autosport, which had three drivers eliminated in the first round of qualifying. Lundgaard was a career-best third for Rahal Letterman Lanigan, which advanced all three of its drivers to the top 12.

Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward and Josef Newgarden rounded out the Fast Six drivers who made the final round of qualifying.

The top five starting spots were represented by five teams: Team Penske, Andretti Autosport, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, Chip Ganassi Racing and Arrow McLaren SP.

Lundgaard overcame a penalty in the second round and locked a tire in the final round and still managed to qualify third.

The championship contenders had a mixed day with reigning champion Palou, who is ranked sixth in the six-driver fight, the highest qualifier (fourth). O’Ward, who is fifth in the standings, advanced only because IndyCar points leader Will Power was knocked from the Fast Six for impeding O’Ward’s lap when he went off course in the top 12.

The penalty stripped Power of his fastest lap and O’Ward took his spot. Power holds a nine-point lead over defending race winner Marcus Ericsson, and only 52 points separate Power from Palou with Sunday’s race the first of the final four this season.

“We can have a great day tomorrow,” Power said of starting eighth. “Get good strategy, good pit stops and see what we’ve got.”

Josef Newgarden of Penske, who is third in the standings, qualified sixth.

Ericsson and Scott Dixon, fourth in the standings, failed to advance out of the first round. Dixon will start 14th and Ericsson 18th, where he started from in last year’s victory.

“We need to come up with a good strategy and play the race as it comes,” Ericsson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch. “It’s been a lot of incidents this weekend again like last year. I think there’s still going to be opportunities. We’ve been struggling all weekend. I haven’t got the feeling in the car that I want. The team did a good job in qualifying to get it more to my liking and felt a step in the right direction.

“We’re just lacking too much speed to the fastest guys. It’s a bit strange. I will say in (the second practice), the car was very consistent to drive. A bit of work tonight, but I’m hoping for a better day tomorrow. I think if there’s anyone in this pit lane that can fight from the back to the front, we’re always strong doing that. We have that confidence.”

Colton Herta crashed in the first group of the first round to bring out a session-ending red flag that ruined multiple drivers’ runs, including teammate Alexander Rossi.

“Little bit too ambitious for what the conditions were. After it rained a lot of that grip kind of fell away, just trying to find the right braking point, and I just overdid it,” Herta told NBC Sports’ Dave Burns. “I apologize to my team, especially to Andretti, because I think I probably screwed over Rossi there pretty good, too. And probably a few other guys.

“I don’t try to do that on purpose, and was really an honest mistake, so I feel bad for everybody involved.”

Drivers were seething after the first group because it was so short. Prior to Herta’s spin, Andretti Autosport rookie Devlin DeFrancesco also spun to bring out a yellow that chewed up three of the 10 scheduled minutes in the qualifying group.

It meant most of the drivers eliminated in the round barely had a chance to make a qualifying run.

“Man, I’m so frustrated. That is not the sport, man,” said Simon Pagenaud, who will start 13th. “We can wait all the day for storm to pass, but they don’t give us enough time to put our lap down. It’s just unbelievable. I’m speechless.

“It’s such a shame because you just don’t get to perform at your level. We’re going to start again where we don’t belong. A lot of guys don’t belong up there up front.”

Felix Rosenqvist, who crashed in practice earlier Saturday, felt his lap would have advanced him before it was halted by the Herta crash.

“Just annoying,” Rosenqvist said. “I didn’t even have a lap. We had a kind of warmup lap. That’s something we have to look at, maybe we should have gone straight out and tried to do a lap, but it’s annoying when it’s always red flags and can’t even get the session going.”

The abbreviated session meant that Dalton Kellett advanced out of the first group for the first time in 37 career IndyCar starts. He’ll start a career-high 12th and was embraced by team and family members when he finished the top-12 session.

Here’s the IndyCar starting lineup for Sunday’s Music City Grand Prix on the 11-turn, 2.1-mile street course (qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time, speed):


ROW 1

1. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 01:14.5555 (101.401)
2. (28) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 01:14.6975 (101.208)

ROW 2

3. (30) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 01:14.7149 (101.185)
4. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 01:14.9087 (100.923)

ROW 3

5. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 01:14.9261 (100.899)
6. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:15.1461 (100.604)

ROW 4

7. (18) David Malukas, Honda, 01:14.9616 (100.852)
8. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:14.9818 (100.824)

ROW 5

9. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:15.3112 (100.383)
10. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 01:15.3897 (100.279)

ROW 6

11. (45) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:15.9758 (99.505)
12. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 01:16.5600 (98.746)

ROW 7

13. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 01:19.4039 (95.209)
14. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:15.3179 (100.375)

ROW 8

15. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 01:21.1784 (93.128)
16. (14) Kyle Kirkwood, Chevrolet, 01:15.4382 (100.214)

ROW 9

17. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:21.4579 (92.809)
18. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 01:15.4501 (100.199)

ROW 10

19. (77) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 01:57.6982 (64.232)
20. (51) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:15.5935 (100.009)

ROW 11

21. (16) Simona De Silvestro, Chevrolet, No Time (No Speed)
22. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:16.3955 (98.959)

ROW 12

23. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, No Time (No Speed)
24. (06) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 01:16.5898 (98.708)

ROW 13

25. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, No Time (No Speed)
26. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 01:17.5888 (97.437)

World of Outlaws release 2023 Sprint Car Series schedule

2023 Outlaws Sprint schedule
World of Outlaws
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The 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule features 87 races, almost identical to the last year’s number, to be contested at 36 venues across 19 states. With cancelations for mostly weather, they closed out this year’s calendar on November 5 with 69 events in the books. Carson Macedo won a series high 11 races.

In 2022, David Gravel chased Brad Sweet into the three-race finale on the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in one of the most hotly contested championships in Outlaws history. Sweet emerged victorious for the fourth straight year.

For the 19th consecutive season, the Outlaws Sprints will begin their season at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals from Feb. 9-11 and will return March 5-6 for another two-day show before hitting the road with a three-track swing into Pennsylvania to take on the Posse.

MORE: 2023 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule

“Every year we continue to build the best schedule we can for drivers and fans across the country,” said World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter is a series release. “I’m excited for the journey we’ve put together, which includes the biggest races in Sprint Car racing, our new Spring Swing through Pennsylvania, the thrill of combining the World of Outlaws and ‘Bike Week’ and so much more.”

Some tracks returning from hiatus and one brand new course include 81 Speedway in Park City, Kans. in April and again in October, Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon City, Ill. in April, Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway in June and BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Penn.

BAPS hosts its first race in more than 30 years when the track was known as Susquehanna Speedway. This midweek show will give the local Pennsylvania Posse 14 attempts to beat the traveling Outlaws.

Ogilvie Speedway is completely new to the series and makes it the 224th different venue they will have challenged.

MORE: Brad Sweet protects his place in history

Notably missing from the calendar are Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park, Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

In addition to the new spring Pennsylvania Swing, the second date at Volusia Speedway will coincide with Daytona Beach’s Bike Week and bring new eyes to the sport.

Knoxville Raceway adds another multi-night show to the calendar in April, giving this track eight sanctioned events in 2023.

And of course, there are plenty of mainstays and high dollar events, such as the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, the 35th running of the Brad Doty Classic in July and the Labor Day Spectacular at Gray’s Harbor in Elma, Wash.

Several big paydays are on the line in 2023 including the 40th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio paying $175,000 to the winner, the Huset’s High Bank Nationals’ $250,000-to-win finale and the grandaddy of them all, the 62nd Knoxville Nationals with a total purse exceeding $1 million.

2023 Outlaws Sprint Schedule

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Sunday-Monday, March 5-6 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, March 17 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, March 18 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday, March 24 – Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, AL)
Saturday, March 25 – Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS)
Friday, March 31-Saturday, April 1 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)

Friday, April 7 – US-36 Raceway (Osborn, MO)
Saturday, April 8 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, April 14-15 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday, April 28 – Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Saturday, April 29 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, May 10 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Friday, May 19 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Saturday, May 20 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27 – Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, OH)
Monday, May 29 – Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Friday, June 2 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, June 3 – Ogilvie Raceway (Ogilvie, MN)
Friday-Saturday, June 9-10 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday-Saturday, June 16-17 – Beaver Dam Raceway (Beaver Dam, WI)
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24 – Huset’s Speedway (Brandon, SD)
Friday, June 30-Saturday, July 1 – Cedar Lake Speedway (New Richmond, WI)

Friday, July 7 – 34 Raceway (West Burlington, IA)
Saturday, July 8 – Wilmot Raceway (Wilmot, WI)
Tuesday, July 11 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, July 19 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Friday-Saturday, July 21-22 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday-Sunday, July 29-30 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)

Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 9-12 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 17-19 – Jackson Motorplex (Jackson, MN)
Friday, Aug. 25 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Red River Valley Speedway (West Fargo, ND)
Thursday, Aug. 31-Saturday, September 2 – Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA)

Monday, Sept. 4 – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, WA)
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 7-9 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA)
Friday, Sept. 15 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford, CA)
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Friday, Sept. 22 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 6-7 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, Oct. 13 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21 – TBA

Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 1-4 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC)