AUGUST 6, 2022



NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE (August 6, 2022) – Mother Nature played havoc with NTT Qualifying for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix for the NTT INDYCAR Series. With heavy rain and lightning, the 3:15 p.m. scheduled start time was delayed until 5:00 p.m.

Scott McLaughlin knew if he got the opportunity to qualify the No. 3 Dex Imaging Team Penske Chevrolet , and things went as planned, he would be in the conversation for the pole. He wasn’t just in the conversation, he is the talk of Music City. With a lap of one minute, 14.555 seconds, he carried the second NTT P1 Award of his INDYCAR career back to his crew after topping the other five drivers in the Firestone Fast Six.

Fellow Team Chevy Drivers Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, and teammate Josef Newgarden, No. 2 PPG Chevrolet, will also start in the first three rows. O’Ward will roll off fifth and Newgarden will start sixth in his hometown race.

Romain Grojean, Christian Lundgaard and Alex Palou were the other drivers in the final round of qualifying.

Sunday’s race coverage starts at 2:00 CT on NBC and the race will be 80-laps/168-miles.



“I think we had really good potential to be in the pole conversation. Getting into the Fast Six was positive but we tried a different tire strategy than everyone else and it didn’t quite pan out for us. It’s a little frustrating but I do think we’re in a really good spot for Sunday. Team Penske has had really fast cars all weekend and that always bodes well for the race. We’re excited to be here racing in Nashville with PPG and Team Chevy and we’ll be looking for a good day tomorrow.”


“This Dex car has been really good. We won St. Pete with it. Won at Mid-Ohio when the guys were wearing these suits. Now I’m on Pole at Nashville which is a great track. I’m really proud of the Dex Chevy and the guys. The car was phenomenal. To do that on one lap used tires is amazing. Oh man, really good lap.

“I think more of the same Kevin, I don’t know. We just got our heads down and our bums up and then just wondering. I’m proud of this group, proud of this team. If I have really good pit stops tomorrow, my Thirsty Threes have got plenty support. So we’ll have a bit of fun. “


“It’s definitely disappointing to not get a chance to fight for the pole because we’ve had a fast Verizon 5G Chevy all weekend. But that’s the rules and we weren’t able to advance to the final round. We know we have good cars here and we will have to work on our strategy to try and get to the front. We know what we have to do tomorrow.”



“Today was a tough day for us. We have made the car better in every session, but we just seem to be missing a bit still. Hopefully, we can keep working on it overnight and go racing tomorrow. Anything can happen here obviously, we’ll just try to take advantage of everything situation we can and keep moving forward.”


“After being 22nd in practice, I am pretty happy to be starting P10! We were almost two seconds faster than we were in practice, we took a really big chunk of time off. It’s important at this place to stay as far ahead of as much as you can. We are ahead of a lot, I think we will be fine. And I probably deserve to wear my cowboy hat again!”



“After qualifying, we are P5 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. That was pretty good considering where we were in practice. We executed, but it was pretty sketchy out there. We got some work to do. It’s going to be a crazy race once again. I don’t think it’s going to be a calm race, and many are on the same page as I am. So, we’ll see what we’ve got tomorrow in warmup and then try to be on the right strategy for the race.”


“We didn’t really have the opportunity to do a lap in qualifying, and it was the same for Rossi. I mean, we just didn’t do anything all session; we just pounded around yellows and red flags, then all of a sudden we’re out in Round 1. So, it’s a shame, especially when I had one more turn to finish that last lap. I definitely thought we could have another pole here and we’ve felt really strong all weekend, so it sucks. We’ll try to go through the field tomorrow.”



“We just posted our best qualifying of the 2022 season so far and it feels really great just to get that No. 4 K-Line Chevy into the Firestone Fast 12 on a great weekend here in Nashville. Lots of interesting stuff going on, we had the Firestone guayule green alternate tires on which were coming up to temp really quick. It was kind of a parallel to the St. Pete qualifying where we did quite well. It seems like when we can get the tires to activate quickly and really just make it happen on that first lap, we seem to have an advantage there. We really press that advantage by just making sure we got ahead of the order of things as far as greens coming out to transfer so that’s something to look at. Very proud of this team overall for the result that we got here today.”


“I have to say we don’t really have the pace that everyone else gets out of their cars on the green tires for whatever reason. Fortunately, we assume it’s going to be a primary race tomorrow with the primary black tires, which we’ve been very quick on. Very quick on them in practice one, and we’re super quick on them practice two. We’ve got the car in a good place. So tomorrow if it’s black race, a primary race and everything stays dry, we’re going to be quick.”



“I didn’t get one flying lap in because every time I came out there was a car in the wall. I don’t understand why we can’t pause the time in qualifying, we have had this argument quite a few times, so in the end it just causes problems. The car felt good, I was up for a good lap when I put the greens on, but obviously it ended. I’m not very happy, but I can’t change the outcome.”




Scott McLaughlin

Pato O’Ward

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the pole winner for tomorrow’s race, Scott McLaughlin, second career pole, 61st in your Team Penske career, which snaps the tie you previously had with Helio Castroneves. You lead the way. Congratulations for that.

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I really wanted that one. Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: Scott, your thoughts about P1?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, just stoked, man. The car has been just absolutely phenomenal all weekend since we really rolled out the truck. We massaged it overnight, came out with a beauty today. Really haven’t touch it apart from a little bit of front wing.

It’s a credit to Ben and then the team, DEX Imaging Chevy car is good. I’m really excited for tomorrow. I think it’s obviously going to be a pretty blockbuster, crazy race. To start from the front, last year I think I started from Narnia last year, I don’t know where I was. I was 20th. So it’s going to be a lot easier to start, control the pace hopefully, and see where we go.

Q. Scott, pole here. This could be a crazy race. Four races to go. Team Penske is definitely strong at Gateway. Do you feel you still have an outside shot at this championship with where you are starting tomorrow?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, the belief is there absolutely. I’ve said it all along, I feel like a little bit of an underdog in this. There’s no reason why we can’t go on a run. These are four tracks that I really enjoy.

I mean, Gateway we ran fourth. Portland I out-qualified my teammates. Feel like our cars are quicker there this year. No reason why we can’t be fast there again. Laguna, I love that track. I just made a mess of qualifying, as I did all last year.

Really excited for this final run. Anything can happen. It’s INDYCAR. We have a solid week, focus on ourselves, who knows what will happen.

Yeah, certainly a position I’m not unfamiliar with, that’s for sure.

THE MODERATOR: Joined also by Pato O’Ward, fifth in the championship. He’ll start fifth tomorrow.

Advancing to the Firestone Fast Six, fifth place, you’ll take it I’m assuming?

PATO O’WARD: Yeah, we’ll take it. I think tomorrow’s race is going to be maybe not quite as hectic as last year, but I think it’s going to be pretty crazy.

It’s pretty unpredictable out there. I think all you guys can agree, no?

PATO O’WARD: Oh, it’s going to rain. Even better (smiling).

So, yeah, we’ll take that. I think we can work from there, for sure.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for all four.

Q. Scott, you had a forgettable race here last year. How do you prepare mentally to come back this year?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, just another race, man. I think we just knew we had (indiscernible). It was a matter of getting a car that could feel a bit more at home with. I liked the track instantly. Yeah, just put it together once we got here.

No, I feel really ready to go for tomorrow. Felt ready to go for this weekend. Can’t wait for what’s ahead.

Q. Scott, if I understand it right, leader has discretion in INDYCAR, they want you to go middle of the bridge. Josef was saying wait until the end. Do you have any plan?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Where should I go?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: We will sort it out. I’m a nice guy. Don’t know what you’re talking about.

Yeah, I don’t know. I got to look back at the notes honestly. I look at that briefly. If we qualify well, I’ll focus on that and see where I’m going to go.

Q. You haven’t even thought about it?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: No, nothing. I’m just glad that the race starts on that side. I think it’s going to make it flow a lot better, help the race get going, get into a bit of a rhythm. I’m sure there’s going to be a few dive bombs out there, but I’m sure it’s going to be fine.

Q. Pato, in the morning practice you looked like you were pretty hot. You said they don’t let you run a cool suit.

PATO O’WARD: Yeah, we don’t have them. It’s horrible in the car. It’s unbearable. Like, I think this is probably going to be the worst race. Yeah, I cannot explain how horrendous it is inside of the car.

Like tomorrow they’ll probably mandate the roof scoops. But, yeah, I mean, every braking zone, I’m having to clear my sweat because there’s no ventilation in the car. Every braking zone, even with me trying to clear it out, I’m still like splatting sweat all over my visor. It’s horrible.

Q. Is that a team performance thing?

PATO O’WARD: No. I think first of all we don’t have the systems. Two, I think as a team we just haven’t looked into it. We have sort of, but, yeah, we don’t have ’em here. Maybe something to look into next year for sure.

I didn’t think it was going to be this bad. It’s worse than what I remember last year being. It’s really, really bad.

Q. With all of you being in group two, did you learn anything from the cars that went out before you guys with all the rain washing away the rubber on the track?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Showed how much the track had lost grip. As soon as there was a run on it, it was pretty quick. I think a second run for them would have been pretty similar to a first run for us probably.

Q. Pato, starting in the second row for this race, knowing where you are in the championship, is this starting to become an almost must-win?

PATO O’WARD: I feel like this year, whether you start — I mean, the worst crash last year, or I guess the worst crash that could continue, won last year. I guess it doesn’t really matter where you start, thinking of what the history has been here.

It’s a good place to start. There’s just going to be I think a lot of yellows. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong. I don’t think we’re going to go full green. I just don’t see that happening with how hot it’s getting inside the cars, with how long the races are, with how hot it’s going to be. People are going to get tired, touch a wall here or there. There’s going to be mishaps for sure.

You can be pole, you can be second or third. We’re starting in the first three rows. A yellow falls not in your favor, you’re going straight to the back.

I think tomorrow it’s going to be all about nailing and having some Lady Luck with the strategy because I don’t think it’s going to matter where you start. I think someone with a good car in the back, they nail on a good yellow, they’re going to go straight to the front and they’re going to stay there.

Q. Scott, if we get a mixed bag weather-wise tomorrow, what’s that going to do to the grip levels, bearing in mind there’s different types of surfaces around this track? Is that going to upset the balance of the car for you?

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, look, no doubt it’s going to be a pretty crazy race. Last year’s was pretty long in bone-dry conditions. I’m sure with a little bit of rain it’s going to be crazy.

A lot of painted lines in the middle of apexes here on tight corners with no room for error. I sort of looked at that before. I thought we might have had a bit of wet then. I was trying to figure out where the lines were and whatnot.

Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. We’ll see what happens during the race.

Q. Watching in the sessions, it reminds me a lot of the backside of the Adelaide street circuit. Probably with the impact you’re seeing in terms of ventilation, how hot you’re getting in the car…

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: It’s pretty warm. The biggest problem is the humidity, I think. When you slow down and come into the pits, the heat soak just builds so quickly.

But I’m sort of like ever since my Super Car days have always been a guy that doesn’t wear a cool suit because I think it’s worse if you have one fail. It’s just boiling water rolling around your body.

I’m actually okay with running the top duct and the helmet fan, or the helmet air. But it’s going to be a hot race. Like Pato said, it’s going to be the hottest race that we’ve had. Hopefully with all the training all season is going to set us up well for that and we’ll be all right.

Q. For you young guys, what do you think of the vibe of this event? Is it really kind of a place…

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: I’m still in my 20s, but that’s fine. Don’t worry about me (laughter).

PATO O’WARD: The vibe’s dope, bro.

Q. Is it almost difficult to not want to go out?

PATO O’WARD: Oh, I’m not a big party-er.

PATO O’WARD: No, seriously. I enjoy staying in my hotel. I love the food that’s around here. There’s some great spots. I’m going to a great one tonight. I forgot the name. It’s a sushi/Chinese.

Q. Really in the heart of everything in Nashville. All you have to go is go across the river…

PATO O’WARD: These guys are doing it right. The guys here from this event and what Hy-Vee did in Iowa, they packed up a place in Newton, Iowa. Like if you can pack up a place in Newton, Iowa, you can pack up any other place that we go. They did a phenomenal job.

I think everyone can learn from what they’re doing. Like, it’s what it should be. The standard should be this. Yesterday, even Friday, there was quite a bit of people coming out to watch for a Friday. Today was even better. I’m sure tomorrow’s going to be fantastic.

Q. When you’re this close to this much activity, you think, I wish I could just go out?

PATO O’WARD: Scottie likes it, I can tell.

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: My wife is probably having more fun than any of us. She comes straight in from Broadway. She’s having a good time. But we’re all good. She’s a superstar. Definitely loves this race. Josef is definitely trying to sell the dream about living here, that’s for sure.

Q. (No microphone.)

PATO O’WARD: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I think I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, it’s going to be a sold-out show when we go. I don’t see it not working out because I know the whole country is super up on all the F1 stuff, racing there. I think if INDYCAR goes there, the series as a whole is going to gain a ton of fans.

PATO O’WARD: That’s what I’m saying. It also depends, maybe it can be Mexico City or Monterrey, my hometown. I think that could be really cool for INDYCAR to go to Monterrey. If it’s a success, maybe a street course in Cancun or something. That would be good, huh? You like Mexico?

PATO O’WARD: To-do list. Add it on there.

PATO O’WARD: You’ll love it. It’s awesome.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much for your time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports