Turn 1 incident snowballed into a day to forget for CGR

Don’t hit your teammates. That’s the first rule within a multi-car team.

Unfortunately for Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Armstrong, who qualified third for Sunday’s Road America IndyCar race—directly behind teammate and first-time polesitter Linus Lundqvist — that primary rule was broken when the New Zealander hit the back of the Swede’s car at the first turn on the first lap and caused both Ganassi cars to spin and stall.

Armstrong would retire on the 35th of 55 laps and Lundqvist, who dropped to 25th in the 27-car field, put in a stellar recovery drive to claim 12th for a Ganassi team that had a race to forget for four of its five cars.


The two made amends after the race, and the rookie’s maturity showed after his best qualifying day in the series turned sour due to the racing equivalent of the cardinal sin.

“We had a chat after the race, and honestly, I’m more so just sad, disappointed that the race didn’t go further from where we started,” Lundqvist told RACER. “I was so excited about this race. I thought we were in for a good one, but sadly, it didn’t last longer than Turn 1. It would have been so fun and interesting to see what we could have done starting at the front, because I think after that happened, the pace was pretty good from our part.

“You know, again, it would have been fun to have had a go at it, but these things happen in racing. There’s a lot of positives to take from this weekend, so I’m going to try to focus on that. I know I’ll have a beer tonight, but we’ll back at it again in two weeks at Laguna.”

A contrite Armstrong was understandably disappointed with what took place on Sunday.

“Tough day,” he said. “One of the toughest I think in my career. Turn 1, I don’t really know what happened to be honest, but I got penalized for it so it must have been my fault. It was not my intention to ruin the race already in the first 20 seconds so I’m disappointed with myself. Then we had mechanical issues after that. It was a trying, bad day. A very bad day.”

Lundqvist gave himself a few laps to wallow in frustration for the opportunity that was lost, and then he and race engineer Brad Goldberg got down to business and picked up 13 positions at the end of 55 laps.

“Obviously…Saturday was amazing, but if you disregard what happened on lap one, and even, honestly, even the first six or seven of laps — because I was a little bit deflated — but then we kind of got back into our groove and then I think we we did as good as we could have,” he said. “Our pace was good in clean air. I struggled a little bit in traffic and trying to pass people but once we committed to our overcut strategy, every time we hit those clear laps at the end, we were always able to move ourselves forward.

“Brad came to me after the race and said, ‘That that was quite enjoyable for me,’ because he had to think a little bit outside of the box here. Overall, it was a race of what could have been. We just have to do it again. Give it another shot.”

Story originally appeared on Racer