Motorsport: Kiwi IndyCar contingent struggle in qualifying for Grand Prix of St Petersburg

New Zealand's IndyCar contingent had a day to forget in Florida, with neither Scott Dixon nor Scott McLaughlin reaching the third and final stage of qualifying for the Grand Prix of St Petersburg.

Despite his podium finish in the season-opening race in Alabama last week, six-time IndyCar champion Dixon struggled in the opening qualifying session.

The Kiwi spun on turn eight of one of his laps in the first qualifying session one, affecting another driver and meaning his best effort was declared void. It took until his final lap of first qualifying, but Dixon did finally manage to get into round two.

But that was as far as he would go, failing to reach the third round of qualifying, with his best time of 1:00.4997 only fast enough to see him sit eighth on the starting grid of Monday's (NZ time) race.

For IndyCar's other Kiwi, former Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin, things didn't fare much better. In his rookie season racing in the US, McLaughlin will start his second race from 14th on the grid, having been eliminated in the first qualifying session with a time of 1:00.7044.

To his credit, McLaughlin qualified faster than the likes of IndyCar veterans Takuma Sato (15th) and Will Power (20th), as well as former Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson (16th) and Romain Grosjean (18th).

The US' Colton Herta will start from pole position alongside Brit Jack Harvey in second to complete the front row.

Dixon's teammate, the winner of last week's Alabama Grand Prix and championship leader, Spain's Alex Palou, will start 10th on the grid.