Champions Power, Team Penske Share Honorsat Victory Lap Celebration  

From Indycar

  Lundqvist, HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing Saluted for Indy Lights Title
INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022) – Will Power and Team Penske stepped into the spotlight again as the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champions Saturday night during the Victory Lap Celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Power clinched his second series championship with a third-place finish in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet last Sunday at the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca. He won his first title in 2014 with Team Penske.
Australia native Power prevailed by 16 points over teammate Josef Newgarden, delivering Team Penske its record-extending 17th INDYCAR SERIES championship. Team Penske President Tim Cindric accepted the Championship Owner Award.
Newgarden and Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing also were saluted for finishing second and third, respectively, in the standings. Power led the 2022 season with five NTT P1 Awards for pole, earning the NTT P1 Award as the best qualifier of the season. It’s the fifth time in his career he has won this award. Power also made history last weekend by winning his 68th career pole, breaking a tie with fellow legend Mario Andretti for the all-time INDYCAR SERIES record.
Team Penske’s technical team also was honored with two awards. Kyle Moyer won the Team Manager of the Year Award for the fifth time. It’s the sixth time a Team Penske executive has won. Pennzoil presented Trevor Lacasse with the Chief Mechanic of the Year for the first time, the sixth time a Team Penske mechanic has earned this award.
Power’s No. 12 Verizon Team Penske crew also won the Firestone Pit Performance Award for earning the most cumulative Pit Stop Performance Award points during the 2022 season.
Team Penske drivers Power, Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin delivered nine of Chevrolet’s series-leading 11 victories this season, helping Chevy win the Manufacturer Award for the seventh time since it returned to the series in 2012 and the first time since 2017. Jim Danahy, U.S. vice president, Competition Motorsports Engineering for Chevrolet, accepted the award on behalf of his team
.Christian Lundgaard was honored as the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year. Lundgaard, from Denmark, scored one podium finish, two top-five finishes and seven top-10s in the No. 30 Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He edged David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD by 18 points in the standings for first-year series drivers.
Success in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires also was honored this year at the Victory Lap, as in 2022 INDYCAR took over execution and promotion of the series that provides the last step of preparation for drivers aspiring to race in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Linus Lundqvist was honored as champion after a dominant season for HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing. Lundqvist, from Sweden, won a series-high five races in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry and clinched the Lights championship with a race to spare, ending with a 92-point advantage over Sting Ray Robb.
Lundqvist also received a painting representing his 2022 championship season created by noted motorsports artist Jim Swintal, also a longtime INDYCAR SERIES race official. Swintal has painted these works for Lights champions every year since 1991.Andretti Autosport teammates Robb and Matthew Brabham also were honored for finishing second and third, respectively, in the standings.
HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing owners Henry and Daiva Malukas accepted an honor for their championship-winning team this season in Lights.
Hunter McElrea received the Rookie of the Year Award in Indy Lights. McElrea, from New Zealand, drove to two victories, seven podium finishes and three poles in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport entry en route to finishing fourth in the series standings.
Newgarden and Lundqvist also received the AiM Sports Move Award for their respective series, presented to the driver judged to have made the most dramatic pass of the year.  

Lights Drivers Mum on Indycar Futures

Indycar photo: Kyle Kirkwood on track by Chris Owens

The top three 2021 finishers in Indy Lights, Kyle Kirkwood, David Malukas, and Linus Lundqvist, talked about their very cold test day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today. The trio had the opportunity to test an Indycar on the IMS road course. It was the first time in an Indycar for Lundqvist. Kirkwood and Malukas tested at Barber. Kirkwood also had a test at Sebring.

Kirkwood and Lundqvist drove cars prepared by Andretti Autosport; Lundqvist drove the number 2 car of Team Penske.

Much of the post test discussion centered on the Indycar prospects for the drivers.

All driver photos by Joe Skibinski

Kirkwood, the first driver to win the championship on all three levels of the Road to Indy, still has no ride for 2022, but he hinted that things are moving in a positive way.

“We have an idea, yeah. I think we
have a direction. It’s not all said and done yet. As of today, which today is November
1st, I’ve been given permission to look elsewhere. I
haven’t been able to have conversations. I don’t know
exactly what I can and cannot say, so I’m going to keep my
mouth shut on the direction “.

 

malukjs

Malukas is strongly thought  to have a ride with Dale Coyne Racing for 2022. In response to a question about how far along his deal is, he would only say, “We will do 99.9%”

lundjs

As for Lundqvist, it appears he has very little going on  at the moment. He replied to questions about his Indycar future,

“Unclear I would say. You never
really know what’s going to happen. I would love to stay
here in the U.S. to start off with. Obviously I would love to
be in INDYCAR next year. If that doesn’t happen, then I’m
looking to do Lights another year.
You never really know because budget-wise it’s a very big
question. We’ll see what we can do during the winter, after
this test as well, what pops up. I’ll keep digging no matter
what.”

Tire Heat Biggest Surprise

All three drivers seemed most impressed by how quickly the tires got warm. It caught a couple of them by surprise.

Lundqvist commented, “Actually the Firestone tire, the grip that they have just
straight out of pit lane was a lot better than what I
experienced in Indy Lights. Obviously it takes a little bit of
time for the pressure to come up, but it wasn’t as bad as I
expected it. You just had to be a little bit careful. It was
not too bad. Obviously I think it would have been even
better when it was warmer. Within a lap or two the tires
were in.”

Malukas agreed with Lundqvist, “Comparing to Indy Lights, it’s like
night-and-day difference. With Indy Lights in this weather,
it would have taken quite some time.”

Kirkwood noted, “One thing I did notice that was pretty big, especially
compared to the Lights car, is the tires switch on so quickly
even in the very cool conditions, which I was not expecting
on the first few laps.”

Lundqvist concluded with a comment about how well Indy Lights prepares drivers for Indycar.

“What you learn in Indy Lights, you
can definitely bring on here. The cars are very similar in
some sense but quite different in others.
I think what I learned in Indy Lights is that you’re able to
drive a car just on the limit. That really rewards you in
INDYCAR as well. It’s that you have so much more grip to
play with. It’s not as much on a knife edge, I would say, as
the Lights car is. You got so much more to play with here.
I think you’re extracting a lot of lap times if you’re having a
similar driver style in the Indy Lights car if you bring it to
INDYCAR.”