SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Leading what ended up being a season-best day for Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan Racing, Christian Lundgaard took the top spot in qualifying for the GMR Grand Prix on Friday.
It’s Lundgaard’s first career P1 Award in his young IndyCar career.
“This 45 HyVee Honda had been fast all-day,” Lundgaard said. “Now we have a shot at (the win) leading the field to green, we just want to stay there for the whole race.”
The RLL Racing stable had had a tough start to the year with an average starting position as a team around 22nd. With Lundgaard starting one pole, teammates Jack Harvey and Graham Rahal are also starting inside the Top 10. Harvey 4th and Rahal 8th, respectively.
It’s also RLL’s first pole position since Takuma Sato won pole at WWT Raceway in the 2020 season.
The drivers were dodging uncertain weather for qualifying with the Indy NXT race dealing with a brief race shower that gave the NXT drivers a brief delay.
The weather steered clear for IndyCar qualifying though with a stiff cloud cover blocking out the sun providing a cooler racing surface and thus faster times around the IMS road course.
It was a tough day for Team Penske with Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin both being eliminated in the first round of qualifying. Will Power advanced to Q2 but was last among the Fast 12.
Along with RLL, it was a good day for Arrow McLaren which also got two drivers, Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, in the Fast 6.
“I kind of messed it up in Turn 9 (on my last lap), but I’m super happy to be P2,” Rosenqvist said. “This is a track where a lot of Euroean drivers have exceled.”
For Lundgaard this is his first pole position in what will be his 23rd career start in the NTT IndyCar Series. He said he is eager to have a good performance tomorrow on the course where he made his IndyCar debut nearly two years ago.
“Every time we come here to IMS we’ve been quick,” Lundgaard said. “Coming into this year I’ve been confident. Last time we raced here we finished 2nd. I can finally say (a P1 Award) is reality, which is pretty god d*** cool. Now we got to finish it off tomorrow.”
The front six will roll off as follows:
Row 1: Christian Lundgaard, Felix Rosenqvist
Row 2: Alex Palou, Jack Harvey
Row 3: Pato O’Ward, Kyle Kirkwood
Green flag is slated for around 3:30 pm EDT on Saturday weather it is raining or sunshine. Listen to full race day coverage startiong at 2:00pm on 93.5 and 107.5 The Fan as well as 93 WIBC starting at 3pm.
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