Linus Lundqvist too the Indy NXT crown last year but has yet to land a full-time ride in the bigs.
While his race at Nashville—subbing at Meyer Shank Racing for an injured Simon Pagenaud—started strong, a late wreck dropped him to near the back of the pack by the checkered.
There’s a possibility Lundqvist’s solid showing lands him a full-time gig with MSR next year.
Last year’s Indy Lights (now known as Indy NXT) champion Linus Lundqvist, who could not find a ride for this season, made his IndyCar debut in Sunday’s race, filling in for the injured Simon Pagenaud in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda.
Pagenaud continues to be out, suffering from a concussion he incurred a month ago in a horrific end-over-end flip at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Lundqvist looked outstanding early in Sunday’s race, reaching as high as third place.
“I’m very proud of this debut,” said Lundqvist. “It hasn’t been the easiest of conditions, with rain and a canceled practice session, so I have really had to learn a lot in a very limited amount of time. Breaking through into the Fast 12 on my first weekend in INDYCAR is just amazing.”
Unfortunately, his car was not up for the task of the 80-lap event and Lundqvist—the third replacement driver for Pagenaud—wrecked with 10 laps to go, unfortunately finishing 25th in the 27-driver field, 11 laps behind race winner Kirkwood.
“It’s a shame the way it ended, and right now I’m obviously very disappointed,” said Lundqvist.
“It was actually a small mistake, but it had big consequences. I ran slightly wide and got onto the marbles, and from there I was just a passenger. It’s a hard pill to swallow after such a strong weekend, but I’ll learn from it and move on.”
Rumors have Lundqvist potentially driving next season for Dale Coyne Racing—ironically, he may replace the guy who pushed Lundqvist out of a ride with DCR, namely, Sting Ray Robb, who has been abysmal thus far this season.
But given how strong he looked all weekend until his crash, don’t be surprised if Lundqvist winds up with MSR next year.
There have been increasing rumors that Pagenaud and teammate (and four-time Indy 500 winner) Helio Castroneves both may be leaving the MSR IndyCar team after their respective contracts conclude this season and will instead race full-time for MSR’s IMSA sports car operation in 2024.
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