Lundqvist romps to first IndyCar pole at drying Road America

In need of a big change of fortune, Linus Lundqvist delivered at the perfect time on Saturday as the 2022 Indy NXT champion earned his first pole position for Chip Ganassi Racing. The young Swede was a rocket in the No. 8 Honda as a day of rain—which affected the majority of qualifying—transitioned into sunny and drying close to the Firestone Fast Six session.

“Thanks to the No. 8 crew for sticking with me,” Lundqvist said. “It’s been a rough couple of races, so to be able to bounce back like this, it’s nice. There’s no better way of rebuilding confidence than with my first ever pole in IndyCar, in these conditions as well.”

With drivers able to trade their Firestone wet tires for the first time and give the quick Firestone alternate slicks a try on the mostly dry single-groove Road America road course, it was an intense battle as Lundqvist motored to first on his last flying lap with a tour of 1m45.1519s, just ahead of Andretti Global and Colton Herta’s 1m45.2913 in the No. 26 Honda. Ganassi teammate Marcus Armstrong continued his impressive body of recent work with third in the No. 11 Honda (1m45.6592s).


“It was disappointing to not get the pole,” Herta said. “However, I am happy with the front-row start. It’s so difficult in these conditions when it’s wet.”

Andretti’s Kyle Kirkwood was fourth and adversity struck both of Team Penske’s pole contenders as Will Power spun and stalled, which voided his two fastest laps according to the rules. He was sixth as a result while teammate Josef Newgarden was circulating and looking like he was on pace for at least third. A heavy crash on the final lap battered the right side of his car and relegated him to sixth and Power to fifth as a result of being the last driver to bring out a caution. Newgarden was able to climb from the car under his own power.

It was a banner day for Ganassi’s young drivers with rookie Lundqvist on pole, Armstrong in third, and rookie Kyffin Simpson, who qualified a career-best 12th. Ganassi’s championship leader Scott Dixon was 11th and its reigning champion Alex Palou was 7th.

Qualifying opened as the first group took to the circuit with light rain falling and once the 10-minute session was over, Alexander Rossi, Pato O’Ward, Marcus Armstrong, Josef Newgarden, Will Power, and an impressive Kyffin Simpson transferred.

Out and finished were Christian Lundgaard, Marcus Ericsson, Rinus VeeKay, Santino Ferrucci, Nolan Siegel, Luca Ghiotto, and Pietro Fittipaldi.

The second group went without incident until Helio Castroneves spun and stalled with just over three minutes left. The red flag lifted and some drivers chose fresh rain tires that were cold and their used wets that were warm.

The drivers to transfer were Herta, Palou, McLaughlin, Kirkwood, Dixon, and Lundqvist. The knockouts were led by Romain Grosjean, Christian Rasmussen, Theo Pourchaire, Jack Harvey, Felix Rosenqvist, Graham Rahal, Sting Ray Robb, and Helio Castroneves.

The Firestone Fast 12 was run on a wet track but the rain stopped falling, and with the track improving with each lap, Herta, Kirkwood, Armstrong, Power, Lundqvist, and Newgarden would go on to vie for pole in the Fast Six.

Seventh through 12th was set with Palou, McLaughlin, Rossi, Dixon, O’Ward, and Simpson.


Story originally appeared on Racer