The NTT IndyCar Series took to the streets of Nashville on Saturday evening to decide the starting grid for the Music City Grand Prix, and it provided plenty of excitement.

Qualifying was delayed by over three hours on account of inclement weather that moved through the area around midday. The track was more than dry by time qualifying got underway, and the heat and humidity was quite stifling as the drivers worked hard behind the wheel.

Regardless of the tough conditions, Scott McLaughlin easily separated himself from the rest of the grid and earned his first pole of the season.

The Kiwi completed his lap in 1:14.6099, and was so for clear of the rest of the field that he backed out of his final attempt at the direction of his crew because nobody else was even threatening for the top spot.

Finishing his lap over three tenths of a second slower than McLaughlin, Pato O’Ward earned the outside front row starting position.

Colton Herta put his #26 Andretti Autosport Honda in the third starting spot, but was a further three tenths of a second behind on his fastest lap.

After his run he made a trip to the #28 pit stand to talk to Romain Grosjean’s crew to figure out why the two were so close on track, obviously under the impression that the proximity interfered with him.

Alex Palou will start from the fourth position, and was the only driver to attempt his final run on the harder, black-walled tires. The strategy didn’t quite work out, but the points leader was as calm as ever after his run.

David Malukas made a good run in the Dale Coyne Racing Honda, and earned the fifth starting spot. Grosjean rounded out the Fast Six, and was unable to get a solid lap in the final round.

Will Power narrowly missed out on making it to the final Fast Six round by less than a tenth of a second, and had to settle for the seventh starting position.

Linus Lundqvist continued his impressive debut weekend by advancing out of the first round. He placed the #60 MSR entry on the sixth row, a full six positions ahead of his veteran team-mate Helio Castroneves.

The 2022 Indy NXT champion has already made his presence known, which will do nothing but help his prospects finding a ride for next season.

Marcus Ericsson, who won the inaugural Music City Grand Prix in 2021, struggled a bit with his brakes during qualifying. He will have to come all the way up from the 20th position if he is to become the first two-time winner of the event.

Due to the weather delays that pushed back qualifying by three hours, the final warm-up session that was originally scheduled for Saturday evening was cancelled in favor of running qualifying in its entirety.

That means drivers and teams will not have an opportunity to dial in their machines ahead of Sunday’s race, which gets underway at 11:00 AM Central Time.

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