Linus Lundqvist Captures First Career IndyCar Pole on 'Proper' Road America Circuit

elkhart lake, wi during the xpel grand prix at road america in elkhart lake, wisconsin photo by joe skibinski ims photo
Linus Lundqvist Captures First Career IndyCar PolePenske Entertainment/Joe Skibinski

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Coming off back-to-back weeks of racing at the wide open oval of the Indianapolis 500 and and the tight street course in Detroit, the 14-turn, 4-mile circuit at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc., is a different challenge.

Or, as two-time and defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Polou said, "This place is a proper race circuit."

It was one WET proper circuit on Saturday as Chip Ganassi Racing's Linus Lundqvist won the pole for Sunday's XPEL Grand Prix. It was Lundqvist's first career pole and came the first time Lundqvist made the Fast 12 qualifying.


Colton Herta and rookie Marcus Armstrong qualified second and third. Kyle Kirkwood, Will Power and Josef Newgarden rounded out the Fast 6 from qualifying.

santino ferrucci indycar road america
Santino Ferrucci tackles the wet conditions at Road America on Saturday.Penske Entertainment/James Black

"Yeah, it was hectic," Lundqvist said. "It was crazy. I say one of the craziest qualifying sessions I've had. This feels like an average British F3 qualifying back in the day type of style where started off torrential rain, then the last part it dried up, we threw on the slicks.

"It was kind of fun going back to that, a little bit back to my roots. Even growing up back in Sweden, half the races we did was in the rain. I'm pretty comfortable there."

Obviously towards the end it was staying online, not touching the wet. That's basically what I had in my mind. It happened to be good enough for pole.

Road America is giving the racers room to run, on both dry and wet. Dry is the expectation for Sunday's race.

indycar qualifying road america

"This is what you would consider as a permanent track—one of the greatest tracks, in my opinion, across the globe, not just in the series," said Santino Ferrucci, who was involved in multiple incidents in traffic last week in Detroit. "This is probably one of the coolest.

"Also, it's a true racetrack, in my opinion. What I mean by that, it's not a paved parking lot that you see a lot of the other series. You make a mistake here, you go off and there's something to hit. It's high stakes, high reward. The carousel (the area that includes turns 9 and 10) has to be one of the coolest corners in motorsports."

Pietro Fittipaldi, who has more experience racing in Europe than most of the NTT IndyCar Series field, said Road America reminds him of the 4.3-mile long Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgim—long a mainstay of the the Formula schedule.

"This one, it's different, but it has a similar feeling to Spa just because the asphalt is so smooth, the corners are so flowy, the straights are so long," Fittipaldi said. "You're kind of surrounded by trees and forest. It has that Spa feeling to it. It's such a long track as well.

"I mean, you feel lonely out there at times compared to the recent tracks we've been on. You have, like, cars always around you. This time I'm like, It's unbelievable, there's no traffic. Usually you get the spotter talking to you all the time.

"Here, because there's so much space, you're just by yourself."

elkhart lake, wi during the xpel grand prix at road america in elkhart lake, wisconsin photo by joe skibinski ims photo
Josef Newgarden qualified fifth after a hard hit into the wall. Penske Entertainment/Joe Skibinski

Newgarden Hits Wall in Qualifying

Josef Newgarden and Team Penske teammate Will Power advanced to the Fast 6 in qualifying, only to fall victim to the wet track conditions.

Power, driving the No. 12 Verizon Business Chevrolet, spun in Turn 12.

Newgarden was unhurt despite a hard hit when went off track in “The Kink” section of the back straightaway on his last flying lap of qualifying. His No. 2 PPG Chevrolet made heavy side contact into a SAFER barrier.