‘It feels good to do this for Simon’ Lundqvist says after Nashville Fast 12 performance

#60: Linus Lundqvist, Meyer Shank Racing Honda
#60: Linus Lundqvist, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

The dream IndyCar debut continues for Linus Lundqvist who rocked qualifying on Saturday at Nashville after earning a start in the Firestone Fast 12 for the heavy-hearted Meyer Shank Racing team.

Everyone from team owners Mike Shank and Jim Meyer to the crews of the Nos. 06 and 60 Honda, the MSR organization has been in a funk since the scary crash that has sidelined Simon Pagenaud since the end of June. And thanks to Lundqvist’s run that earned 11th among the field of 27 drivers on the starting grid, the team felt joy and happiness for the first time in a long time.

“It feels good to do this for Simon and for every person and every company associated with this team,” Lundqvist told RACER. “I know how much of a hard time they’ve had since the crash, and Simon was helping me coming into the weekend to get ready with some phone calls giving notes and tips–and we’ve been texting—and it’s helped really quite a lot.

“I had no idea what to expect in qualifying, so that we even made it made it through the first group there was the best possible outcome for us. I’m just over the moon at the moment.

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With the run to 11th, Lundqvist also secured the No. 60 entry’s second-best start of the season, bettered only by Pagenaud’s 8th-place performance in qualifying at Detroit. MSR teammate Helio Castroneves will open the 80-lap race in 17th.

Despite the giant learning curve to overcome, Lundqvist has been fast and composed since the start of practice, and for those who watched the Swede utterly dominate last year’s Indy Lights championship, his remarkable pace and laser-focus should not come as a surprise in his maiden IndyCar outing.

“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a very, very long time, and in my mind, I’ve been ready for a very long time,” he said. “So to get this opportunity, I’ve had this moment play in my mind so many times that now that I’m actually here, it feels a little bit surreal. But also, this is what I’ve been expecting, so I think that helps.

“And the team has done a tremendous job to make me feel at home, both within the car but also outside of the car, and the engineers are very good at making me feel comfortable in the car and getting to grips on an IndyCar weekend. It’s been a pretty tough time for the team, so seeing them smiling means a lot.”

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