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Qualifying report
IndyCar Gateway

IndyCar St Louis: McLaughlin fastest in qualifying but starts 10th with penalty

Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin topped qualifying for today’s IndyCar race at World Wide Technology Raceway in St Louis, but team-mate Josef Newgarden will start on pole due to penalties.

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet

McLaughlin topped the qualifying session around the 1.25-mile oval, which was delayed by rain yesterday, with a two-lap average of 49.1936s, a speed of 182.951mph.

But before qualifying, IndyCar officials announced nine-position starting grid penalties for McLaughlin, Alex Palou, Scott Dixon and Takuma Sato (Chip Ganassi Racing), Kyle Kirkwood (Andretti Autosport) and Agustin Canapino (Juncos Hollinger Racing) for unapproved engine changes since the last round on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

So that promotes second-fastest qualifier, McLaughlin’s Penske team-mate Josef Newgarden, to the top spot. McLaughlin will start 10th.

In single-car qualifying, with an average taken across two laps, Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta was first with 10 cars remaining with an average time of 49.4651s, a speed of 181.946mph. “We did well for the conditions,” he said. “Because of the rain overnight, I was happy with the run and the car felt good.”

McLaughlin took top spot away from Herta with 49.1936s, good for 182.951mph - his second lap a massive 183.395mph. But his nine-place penalty means he’ll start 10th.

Oval dominator Newgarden couldn’t beat him, setting 49.3448s at 182.390mph, but will inherit the pole position starting spot anyway, ahead of Herta.

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward will start third, after a 181.722mph effort beat his team-mate Felix Rosenqvist. Series dominator Palou qualified fifth, but will drop nine spots, as does Dixon from seventh and Sato from eighth.

Andretti’s Romain Grosjean and David Malukas (Dale Coyne Racing) were the chief beneficiaries from the penalties, as four of the top eight will shift back.

Ganassi’s Marcus Ericsson, who was driving Palou’s spare car after his wreck with Power in practice yesterday, appeared to suffer an engine issue and was 18th fastest. “The car was just not pulling and misfiring,” he admitted. “The car was good to drive.”

AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci almost wrecked after a big moment at Turn 3 and could only manage 27th.

The race starts at 3:30pm local time today.

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