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Lundqvist Reigns for First Career Pole at Damp Road America

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Saturday, June 8, 2024) – Linus Lundqvist achieved a hat trick of firsts in his young NTT INDYCAR SERIES career during a frantic, damp NTT P1 Award qualifying session Saturday for the XPEL Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR.

First time in the Top 12 group of qualifying. First time in the Firestone Fast Six. First career pole.

2022 INDY NXT by Firestone champion Lundqvist earned the top starting spot for the 55-lap race Sunday with a best lap of 1 minute, 45.1519 seconds in the No. 8 American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Lundqvist’s previous best start for a points-paying race in his rookie season of 2024 was 17th at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in April.

Lundqvist, from Sweden, became the first NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie to earn a pole since Romain Grosjean in May 2021 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He entered this race with three consecutive finishes of 24th or worse after earning his first career podium finish with a third place in late April at Barber Motorsports Park.

“Thanks to the 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.”

Live coverage of the 55-lap race will start at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC and Peacock and 3 p.m. ET on the INDYCAR Radio Network. A 30-minute warmup starts at 12:15 p.m. ET (Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network).

Colton Herta will join Lundqvist in the front row after his top lap of 1:45.2913 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda fielded by Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian. Herta was quickest in the first two groups of qualifying before falling just short to Lundqvist in the Firestone Fast Six.

Marcus Armstrong was the second young Chip Ganassi Racing driver to qualify in the first two rows, third at 1:45.6592 in the No. 11 Ridgeline Lubricants Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Kyle Kirkwood will start fourth at 1:46.4498 in the No. 27 AutoNation Honda of Andretti Global.

Team Penske teammates Will Power and Josef Newgarden will start fifth and sixth, respectively. Both drivers lost their best two laps in the Firestone Fast Six due to triggering red flags and didn’t record a qualifying time, with their starting spots determined by their best laps in the Top 12 session.

Power spun in Turn 12, known as Canada Corner, in his No. 12 Verizon Business Team Penske Chevrolet. Newgarden went off track in “The Kink” section of the back straightaway and made heavy side contact with the SAFER Barrier in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet on his last flying lap. Newgarden was unhurt.

Drivers used Firestone Firehawk rain tires in the first two qualifying sessions as torrential rain earlier in the day dissipated to light showers. But the rain stopped late in the Top 12 session of qualifying, with a dry line starting to form before the Firestone Fast Six.

Five of the six drivers in the final round of qualifying started the session and stayed on Firestone Firehawk alternate slick tires, with Lundqvist the only driver choosing to start on rain tires. But Lundqvist and Chip Ganassi Racing officials quickly realized that was the wrong choice, and they pitted for alternate slicks after one out lap.

“It was very tricky out there in the wet to start off with and going to dry tires,” Lundqvist said. “I think we were the only ones starting on wets, as well, so I kind of had to make a late switch there. But we made it work in the end, and man, I’m just super, super happy.”

The red flag triggered by Power turned the Firestone Fast Six into a one-lap dash for the pole, as the track continued to dry and get faster with every lap. Lundqvist jumped to the top, and Herta crossed the timing line to take the second position just as Newgarden’s frightening crash unfolded and subsequent red flag ended the session.

Championship leader Scott Dixon will start 10th after his best lap of 2:01.2671 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda in the Top 12 round.

XPEL Grand Prix at Road America Qualifying Results

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Qualifying Saturday for the XPEL Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR NTT INDYCAR SERIES event on the 4.014-mile Road America, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time and speed in parentheses:

  1. (8) Linus Lundqvist, Honda, 01:45.1519 (137.424 mph)
  2. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 01:45.2913 (137.242)
  3. (11) Marcus Armstrong, Honda, 01:45.6592 (136.764)
  4. (27) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 01:46.4498 (135.748)
  5. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, No Time (No Speed)
  6. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, No Time (No Speed)
  7. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 02:00.8290 (119.594)
  8. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 02:00.8840 (119.539)
  9. (7) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 02:00.9035 (119.520)
  10. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 02:01.2671 (119.162)
  11. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 02:01.5141 (118.920)
  12. (4) Kyffin Simpson, Honda, 02:01.6266 (118.810)
  13. (45) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 02:02.3826 (118.076)
  14. (77) Romain Grosjean, Chevrolet, 02:01.7626 (118.677)
  15. (28) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 02:02.6460 (117.822)
  16. (20) Christian Rasmussen, Chevrolet, 02:02.0944 (118.354)
  17. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 02:02.7088 (117.762)
  18. (6) Theo Pourchaire, Chevrolet, 02:02.1745 (118.277)
  19. (14) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 02:03.8144 (116.710)
  20. (18) Jack Harvey, Honda, 02:02.9443 (117.536)
  21. (78) Nolan Siegel, Chevrolet, 02:05.0248 (115.580)
  22. (60) Felix Rosenqvist, Honda, 02:03.3098 (117.188)
  23. (51) Luca Ghiotto, Honda, 02:05.1341 (115.479)
  24. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 02:04.8213 (115.769)
  25. (30) Pietro Fittipaldi, Honda, 02:05.6079 (115.044)
  26. (41) Sting Ray Robb, Chevrolet, 02:04.8553 (115.737)
  27. (66) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 02:09.6837 (111.428)

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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