Linus Lundqvist Clinches First Career Pole In Wet And Wild Road America Qualifying

Linus Lundqvist - XPEL Grand Prix at Road America - By_ James Black_Large Image Without Watermark_m109081
Linus Lundqvist - XPEL Grand Prix at Road America - By_ James Black_Large Image Without Watermark_m109081

Linus Lundqvist secured his maiden NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole position in a dramatic and damp qualifying session for the XPEL Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR.

Achieving three significant milestones in his rookie season, Lundqvist entered the Top 12 group of qualifying, advanced to the Firestone Fast Six, and ultimately clinched his first career pole with a best lap time of 1 minute, 45.1519 seconds in the No. 8 American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. His previous best start was 17th at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Lundqvist, from Sweden, became the first rookie to secure a pole position in the series since Romain Grosjean in May 2021. This achievement comes after a series of challenging races, where he finished 24th or worse consecutively following his first career podium finish with third place at Barber Motorsports Park in April.

“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.”

Colton Herta will start alongside Lundqvist in the front row, posting a top lap of 1:45.2913 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda fielded by Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian. Herta led the timesheets in the first two qualifying groups before Lundqvist edged him out in the Firestone Fast Six.

Marcus Armstrong, another young talent from Chip Ganassi Racing, will start third with a lap of 1:45.6592 in the No. 11 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda, while Kyle Kirkwood will start fourth in the No. 27 AutoNation Honda of Andretti Global.

Team Penske’s Will Power and Josef Newgarden will start fifth and sixth, respectively, despite losing their best two laps in the Firestone Fast Six due to triggering red flags. Power spun in Turn 12, while Newgarden made heavy contact with the SAFER Barrier at “The Kink,” but both drivers were unhurt.

The session, marked by heavy rain, saw drivers using Firestone Firehawk rain tires initially, with a dry line forming in the final stages. Lundqvist began the session on rain tires but quickly switched to slicks after realizing the track was drying faster than expected.

“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.”

A red flag triggered by Power turned the final session into a one-lap shootout for the pole, with Lundqvist emerging on top just before Newgarden’s crash brought the session to an early end.

Live coverage of the 55-lap race will start at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC and Peacock, with a 30-minute warm-up session at 12:15 p.m. ET available on Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

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