Scott M

McLaughlin scores first IndyCar pole in St Petersburg


Posted on

| Written by

Scott McLaughlin earned his first career IndyCar pole position on the streets of Saint Petersburg, Florida during the first qualifying session of the 2022 season.

The three-time Australian Supercars champion found the speed on his final lap to oust his Penske team mate Will Power from the top spot in the Fast Six stage of qualifying, setting a lap time of 59.482 seconds to secure his maiden IndyCar pole.

McLaughlin had only managed a best qualifying result of fifth place throughout his first full season in IndyCar last year.

Power, who starts second, set a new course record at 59.347, during the second stage of qualifying.

Defending St. Petersburg race winner Colton Herta will line up third on the grid for Sunday’s 100-lap opening race, next to Rinus VeeKay in fourth.

Following an awkward collision with Takuma Sato in Saturday morning’s practice, Romain Grosjean recovered to qualify fifth, next to his compatriot, Simon Pagenaud, who was sixth in his first qualifying for Meyer Shank Racing.

Ganassi missed out on the Fast Six entirely: Scott Dixon was seventh, Marcus Ericsson was eighth, and reigning series champion Alex Palou was tenth.

Palou had been involved in a single car crash at turn nine in practice, as was Jack Harvey, who fell down to 23rd in his first qualifying for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Completing the top ten was the third Penske driver, Josef Newgarden, who will start ninth.

Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood was the sole rookie contender to make the second phase of qualifying, and qualified 12th for his first IndyCar race. Christian Lundgaard was 15th, Devlin DeFrancesco was 18th, and Callum Ilott was 19th. David Malukas was moved down to 24th after impeding Jimmie Johnson during Group 2 of the first round, one position ahead of Tatiana Calderon in 25th.

Both McLaren SP cars failed to break out of the first phase of qualifying: Pato O’Ward couldn’t improve from 16th after making contact with the barriers at turn nine, while Felix Rosenqvist was down in 21st.

Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will begin his first full-time campaign in five years from 17th on the grid.

Qualifying results:

13Scott McLaughlinPenskeChevrolet
212Will PowerPenskeChevrolet
326Colton HertaAndrettiHonda
421Rinus VeeKayCarpenterChevrolet
528Romain GrosjeanAndrettiHonda
660Simon PagenaudMeyer ShankHonda
79Scott DixonGanassiHonda
88Marcus EricssonGanassiHonda
92Josef NewgardenPenskeChevrolet
1010Alex PalouGanassiHonda
1115Graham RahalRLLHonda
1214Kyle KirkwoodFoytChevrolet
1327Alexander RossiAndrettiHonda
144Dalton KellettFoytChevrolet
1530Christian LundgaardRLLHonda
165Pato O’WardMcLaren SPChevrolet
1706Helio CastronevesMeyer ShankHonda
1829Devlin DeFrancescoAndretti SteinbrennerHonda
1977Callum IlottJuncos HollingerChevrolet
2020Conor DalyCarpenterChevrolet
217Felix RosenqvistMcLaren SPChevrolet
2251Takuma SatoCoyne/RWRHonda
2345Jack HarveyRLLHonda
2418David MalukasCoyne/HMDHonda
2511Tatiana CalderonFoytChevrolet
2648Jimmie JohnsonGanassiHonda

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free


Browse all IndyCar articles

Author information

RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

9 comments on “McLaughlin scores first IndyCar pole in St Petersburg”

  1. What an amazing result!!! Can McLaughling be the dark horse in the championship?
    I’m also very pleased with the rejuvenation of Will Power.
    I like Jimmie Johnson and admire how well he kept his head up last season, but losing to everybody including a rookie woman I’m not sure he will be able to take for a long time.

    1. #48 still has problems with how the DW12 puts the power down and is overrotating the rear end. He spins the car around in the same way constantly.

      1. In the case of his spin into turn 1, it was at the end of braking, not under power. Maybe nobody’s told him with high downforce cars you need to initially hammer the brake then ease off as the speed and therefore downforce falls away. I doubt you’d do that in a NASCAR.

  2. Super impressive qualifying effort by McLaughlin! Maybe he’s finally getting the hang of driving an IndyCar figured out.

    Can’t wait for tomorrows race. Wonderful that the season has started.

  3. Was I the only one who read “Mclaren” over “Mclaughlin”

  4. WOW that’s one hell of a top 10! Indy really does have a huge amount of talent right now. Congrats to McLaughlin as well.

    1. When they got down to the fast 12 I cast my eye down the scoring pylon thinking ‘who’s likely to reach the fast six, then?’ and realised it was pretty much all of them!

  5. Kudos to F1 for cancelling the Russian race.
    Surprised Indycar would go to Russia in these troubling times.


Comments are closed.