Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing To Participate
INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, May 24, 2023) – INDYCAR has announced a special session Thursday, May 25 for the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet and the No. 44 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda after an Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge practice incident Monday involving both teams.
The 15-minute session will take place from 4:30-4:45 p.m. ET in preparation for final practice from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday on Miller Lite Carb Day. Graham Rahal is driving the No. 24 DRR Cusick Carekeepers Chevrolet, while Katherine Legge is behind the wheel of the No. 44 Hendrickson Honda fielded by RLL.
Each team will be allowed unlimited install laps (out and in) within the time frame. They will not be allowed to stay on the track to cross the start-finish line and the Yard of Bricks.
The 107th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 28 (11 a.m. ET, NBC, Peacock, Universo, INDYCAR Radio Network).
Christian Lundgaard’s first career pole capped a rebound day for Rahal Letterman Laniugan Racing. The team has floundered this season in qualifying, but today all three drivers were in the mix in every session. All three- Lundgaard,Jack Harvey, and Graham Rahal- advance the round of 12. Lundraagd and Harvey moved on to the Fast Six. Harvey will start fourth tomorrow and Rahal lines up eighth.
Felix Rosenqvist starts second on Saturday, missing the pole bu just0.0027 seconds. The difference between Lundgaard’s time and sixth place Kyle Kirkwood was 0.2971 seconds, one of the closest since the Fast 6 format began.
Unususal Fast 12
Round 2 feaqtured all of the drivers from three different teams. I don’t recall three entire teams making the round of 12 before. The complete squad from Ganassi-Scott Dixon, Alex palou, Marcus Ericsson, and Marcus Armstrong; all the Arrow McLaren drivers- Pato O’Ward, Alexander Rossi, and Rosenqvist; and the Rahal crew.
Kyle Kirkwood from Andretti and Will Power from Penske filled out the 12 spots. Kirkwood advanced.
Where is Penske?
Five poles have been awarded this season, but none to a Penske driver. Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin each have a fourth place start, and McLaughlin also has a sixth place in qualifying. New garden has yet to make a Fast Six on a road or street course.
Today was the worst qualifying day of the ear for Andretti. Colton Herta’s oil line fire in the morning practice seemed to set the tone for the day. Kirkwood was the only driver to advance to the second round.. Romain Grosjean, who has twompoles this season, will satrt 18th.
Indycar fans got their exercise by jumping to a conclusion about Rahal Letterman Lanigan racing this week. First Jack Harvey, injured in a lap 42 accident at St. Pete, was finally cleared to drive again.
A few days later, the team announced that2022 Indy Lights champion Linus Lundqvist will get an oval test April3 at Texas, the day after the Indycar race there. Lundqvist was caught in a lowering of the champion award money which didn’t give him enough funding to secure an Indycar ride. Rahal said that they will see about entering him in a few races later in the year.
It would be easy to conclude that RLL is preparing a replacement for Jack Harvey at the end of the year. I’m not ready to make that leap yet, but Harvey’s inauspicious start to a make-or-break season certainly adds fuel to that suspicion. The next race at Texas is the one Harvey sat out in 2022 after suffering a concussion in a practice crash.
We will see how this plays out, but I look for a fourth Rahal entry at some races after May. I’m excited to see what Lundqvist can do. meanwhile, Let’s see if Harvey can turn his fortunes around.
Mark Miles went to Argentina to check out a track for a possible Indycar race. Ricardo Juncos has been pushing for the series to race in his home country. In November Juncos held demonstration runs with Augustin Canapino which drew large crowds.
Track designer Tony Cotman accompanied Miles on the trip.
A race in South America needs to make perfect financial sense for the teams, the series, and the schedule. The gap between St. Pete and Texas would be the ideal spot for this race. There is plenty of time for transport back and forth, and it wouldn’t interfere with the rest of the schedule.
While I am not against an Argentina event, I’d rather the series focus on bringing back Milwaukee and adding other tracks in the United States. Indycar badly needs a race in the Northeast.
Jack Harvey, injured in a crash during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 5, has still not been medically cleared to drive. The driver of the number 30 car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will miss today’s team test at Barber Motorsports Park.
The nature of the injury is not known, but I believe it has something to do with his wrists.
Juri Vips, a former F2 driver, will fill in today. Harvey will be reevaluated before the Texas race. In 2022 he missed the Texas race after suffering a concussion in the final practice.
Harvey was rumored to be in a make or break year, and the injury and missing time in the car is not helping his cause. Vips also tested with the team last October.
Albert Whitted Airport Getting Another Look
The airport in St. Petersburg is getting another look by the mayor’s office for a possible conversion to another use. When Ken Welch became mayor two years ago, surveys were conducted to see if the city could make better use of thland. Now, the process is beginning again. One of the runways serves as the front stretch and pits for the Grand Prix.
The race has just extended its agreement with Indycar for two more years. It will take at least that long for any plans to surface, so I wouldn’t be concerned just yet.
I remember the first time this subject came up, something was mentioned about the FAA having a say in the matter. Stay tuned, but for now, we’re still racing in St. Pete.
Indycar Drivers at Sebring
This weekend’s Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring will feature five full time Indycar drivers and a driver entered in the Indianapolis 500. Three of the drivers are from Andretti Autosport- Devlin DeFrancesco in the number 51 LMP 2 car, Kyle Kirkwood in the Vasser-Sullivan Lexus number 14 GTD Pro, and Romain Grosjean in the number 3 Lamborghini, also in GTD Pro.
Scott Dixon will drive the 01 Cadillac GTP for Ganassi, and Helio Castroneves will drive for his Indycar boss, Mike Shank, in the number 60 GTP Acura.
Katherine Legge will drive car 66, an Acura NSX, in the GTD class.
I will have more Sebring coverage later this week.
When Simona DeSilvestro drove in the Indianapolis 500 two years ago, I thought a new era of women drivers in the race was about to begin. While that didn’t happen, today’s announcement gives me new hope of consistently having a woman driver in the race. Jamie Chadwick is in the NXT Series, and she may be in the race in a couple of years. I know this ride is just a one off, but a good result may bolster chances for a return.
In my opinion, Legge is the top female driver in the world.
Legge’s two Indy 500 appearances were pretty much the same. She started 30th in 2012 and finished22nd. In 2013 she started last and finished 26th. Legge will have her best shot at success this year in a Rahal prepared car.
Thanks to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for making this happen.
The team announcement:
ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (February 9, 2023) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Hendrickson, a leading global manufacturer and supplier of suspension systems and components to the commercial transportation industry, will be the primary sponsor of the team’s No. 44 Honda-powered entry for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500. Katherine Legge, who is one of 9 women to compete in the Indy 500, will return to the team to pilot the entry for her third appearance in the race.
British driver Legge, who currently races an Acura NSX GT3 full time in the GTD class in IMSA, scored a win and pole with RLL in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY series in the 2018/2019 ABB FIA Formula E season and finished on the podium three times in 10 races. She competed in the Champ Car World Series fulltime in 2006-07 and made 10 Indy car starts in 2012 while sharing an entry with four-time Indy car champion Sebastien Bourdais at Dragon Racing. In total, she has made 39 Champ or Indy car starts with a best finish of sixth, two times. A long time Honda/Acura competitor, she brought NSX its first win worldwide in Detroit in 2017.
Hendrickson joined the team as an associate sponsor in 2019 and created a purpose-built engineering support trailer that made its debut at the 2019 Indianapolis 500. The trailer enables the team to maximize the information sharing between their three fulltime INDYCAR programs at each of the race events in the interest of performance. Hendrickson extended their partnership with the team in 2022 and expanded it to become the primary sponsor of Christian Lundgaard’s entry at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio last year. This will be their second appearance as a primary sponsor of a racing event.
The 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season begins with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg which will be broadcast live on NBC on Sunday, March 5 at 12 p.m. EDT. All on-track action can be seen on NBC or NBC’s Peacock Premium streaming service or USA Network. For more information about the series or team, visit http://www.indycar.com and http://www.rahal.com.
About Hendrickson Hendrickson, a Boler company, is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of medium- and heavy-duty mechanical, elastomeric and air suspensions; integrated and non-integrated axle and brakes systems; tire pressure control systems; auxiliary lift axle systems; parabolic and multi-leaf springs; stabilizers; bumpers; and components to the global commercial transportation industry. Hendrickson, based in Woodridge, Ill., USA, continues to meet the needs of the transportation industry for more than 100 years. Visit Hendrickson at www.hendrickson-intl.com.
About Katherine Legge Legge, a native of Guildford, United Kingdom, currently competes fulltime in an Acura NSX GT3 for Gradient Racing in the GTD class in IMSA. Her resume includes experience in Formula 3, Formula Renault, a Formula One test, Champ Car, Indy car, A1GP, DTM, Formula E and sports car racing. Legge was the first woman to win pole in a Zetec race in 2000. One year later she won BRDC’s “Rising Star” award. In November 2005 she became the first woman to test a Formula One car since Sarah Fisher in 2002. Legge competed in the Toyota Atlantic Championship in 2005, winning the series opener in Long Beach in her first career start to become the first woman to win a developmental open wheel race in North America. She finished the 2005 Atlantic season third in the championship with three wins and five podiums. She moved up to PKV Racing in Champ Car in 2006 and became the first woman to lead a lap in that series when she led Lap 12 at Milwaukee and went on to earn an Indy car career best finish there of sixth. She later had a massive crash at Road America but was largely uninjured and able to compete in the final two races of the season. She competed for Dale Coyne Racing in 2007 and matched her best series finish of sixth at Long Beach and earned her best Indy car start of eighth, twice, before returning to Europe to compete in the DTM touring car series from 2008-2010 where she was an Audi factory driver. After a one-year hiatus from racing, she joined Dragon Racing’s IndyCar Series team in 2012 but a short-lived Lotus program led to the team only being able to secure one Chevrolet engine for two drivers and Legge only competed on oval tracks. She moved to the Delta Wing sports car program from 2013-2015 and also competed in two Formula E races with Amlin Aguri in the 2014/2015 season. She spent three seasons with Meyer Shank Racing from 2017-2019 in a factory-backed Acura GTD program and earned four wins and 11 podium finishes – including the first win worldwide for NSX in Detroit in 2017. In 2020, she competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in a Lamborghini in the GTD class before switching her focus to a European-based racing program. She signed with Richard Mille Racing to take part in the 2020 European Le Mans Series and 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP2 prototype category but was injured in a pre-season testing crash after a tire failure at the Paul Ricard circuit and missed the remainder of the season while recovering from her injuries. In 2021-2022, she returned to IMSA as lead driver for Team Hardpoint, driving a Porsche 911 in the GTD class and currently competes in an Acura NSX in the GTD class for Gradient Racing in 2023. She and her co-drivers recently finished fourth in class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. In her free time, she is a Girl Scouts STEM Ambassador and enjoys skiing, cycling, training and competing in triathlons, yoga and is a vegan athlete. Legge is the second female race car driver to compete for RLL. Danica Patrick competed in the Atlantic Series with the team from 2003-2004 and in the IndyCar Series from 2005-2006.
KATHERINE LEGGE, driver of the No. 44 Hendrickson Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I am thrilled to be back at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for the biggest race in the world, the Indy 500. Bobby gave me my first chance to win races for the team in the Jaguar I-PACE series a few years ago and it feels like a homecoming of sorts to be back with the team, especially seeing as I’m also very proud to be back with HPD in IMSA, and now in the INDYCAR SERIES. Racing at Indy with an Indy 500-winning team and with Honda is an amazing opportunity, and one I am very grateful for and intend to make the most of. I’m hoping I can learn from my teammates and team members, and transition smoothly back to open wheel racing for May. I can’t wait to get to work!”
JEFF SASS, Vice President of Marketing, Hendrickson: “Hendrickson is very proud to be a part of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. We, at Hendrickson, are excited to have Katherine Legge driving the Hendrickson Honda No. 44 car at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indy 500. We expect to be kneeling down next to Bobby, Dave, Mike and Katherine kissing the bricks Memorial Day weekend.”
BOBBY RAHAL, Co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “After more than a few attempts, I’m happy to announce that Katherine will join us in our Hendrickson Honda for the 107th running of the Indy 500. I’ve been a fan of Katherine’s for many years and know that, in the right situation, she can be competitive and figure into the outcome at the end of the race. She has driven for us before in the Jaguar electric program and won from pole in Mexico City and finished on the podium several times, so it is nice to have her back with us to work together at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time. I know she looks at this as a chance to show everybody what she really can do.”
MIKE LANIGAN, Co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “We are looking forward to seeing the No. 44 Hendrickson entry at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing – the Indy 500 – and welcoming Katherine back to the team. The Lanco Group of Companies has used Hendrickson suspension components for many years and it is great to work with them in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. They have been a great partner over the years, and we are looking forward to a long future and exciting May.”
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (August 16, 2022) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced today that the team has restructured a new, long-term agreement with NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie-of-the-year contender Christian Lundgaard that will see the Danish driver continue to compete for the team in 2023 and beyond.
Lundgaard has momentum on his side heading into the final three races of the season. He earned an INDYCAR career-best finish of second place at the Gallagher Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30 and earned his highest series start of third place at the Music City Grand Prix in Nashville on August 6. He leads the INDYCAR Rookie of the Year standings with 272 points to second-place David Malukas, who has 231.
The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season resumes with the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway on August 19-20. The race will air live on USA Network at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 20. All on-track action can be seen on NBC or NBC’s Peacock Premium streaming service. For more information on the series and team, visit http://www.indycar.com and http://www.rahal.com.
CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD, Driver of the No. 30 Honda: “I have to say a big thanks to Bobby, David and Mike for giving me this opportunity to extend my time with the team. We’ve had some good results lately and I’m sure this has also helped their decision. First of all, I’m just happy and super excited that they gave me this opportunity. A year ago at the Grand Prix, we qualified well and they decided that they wanted me for a full season and we made the most of the opportunity so far. I’m sure there are times when we could have performed better but now we have the opportunity to continue this progress. We’ve been to a lot of tracks so far and have come back to some and finished on the podium, which I hope to continue. Qualifying third in Nashville was a big milestone for me. Making the Fast Six – and not being at the end of the Fast Six but actually having a shot at competing for the pole – was a great experience for me. We didn’t quite finish where we wanted but it was good to have that experience and now everyone is making the most of it. I’m happy for everyone at the team, my family and the sponsors and investors, everyone that has made this possible. I’m looking forward to continuing to build momentum.”
BOBBY RAHAL, Co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “I am so pleased with Christian’s progress with the team and within the series. He has shown that he can be a force to be reckoned with in these races. He works well within the team, and we are pleased that we are continuing for the next several years because I believe he will continue to improve and be a potential winner in the very near future.”
MIKE LANIGAN, Co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “Christian has done a great job acclimatizing to the variety of challenges and new experiences this season. His approach and professionalism continues to impress us and his performance, especially in the second half of the season, speaks volumes about his potential. We are very happy to have him as part of the team for the years ahead.”
About Christian Lundgaard Christian Lundgaard, 21, from Hedensted, Denmark, came to the INDYCAR SERIES after competing in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, the primary Formula 1 support series, from 2020-2021. Lundgaard was a member of the Alpine Academy, having joined the program in 2017 following an impressive career in European and World Karting Championships. Christian’s first year in single-seaters led to two Formula 4 titles – NEZ and Spanish – before he finished runner-up in the 2018 Formula Renault Eurocup as a rookie. In 2019, Christian stepped up to Formula 3, finishing sixth, before progressing to Formula 2 the following season.
In his first year in Formula 2 in 2020, he won two races and backed that up the following year with three podiums. He finished second in Race 2 at the season opener in Bahrain before claiming third place in Race 1 in Great Britain in July. After his debut in INDYCAR, he made a sensational charge from 19th on the grid to finish third in Monza in Race 1. He tested the R.S.18 on one occasion in 2021 at Silverstone.
It took 49 races and more than 1,100 days for Alexander Rossi to once again see the checkered flag first. It happened to be in the same venue where he won his first race, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The track layout was different than when he won the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, but a win is a win.
It’s not that Rossi forgot how to drive. He endured a telephone book’s worth of issues n the pits, bad luck, and untimely mechanical failures. How did he keep going through all of the frustration?
He told the media,
“It’s human nature to start to question things when it continually doesn’t kind of fall your way. You just have to remember that you’ve done it before, you can do it again.”
Rossi tried to take the lead on lap 2 with a bold move on Felix Rosenqvist going into turn one, but ended up off course and fell back to third. He later passed Rosenqvist and set off after teammate Colton Herta, who had charged from ninth to take the lead.
It appeared to be Herta’s race, but he slowed on lap 42 and barely coasted into the pit entrance. Rossi inherited the lead and never looked back.
Rossi’s eighth career win comes as his time with Andretti Autosport nears its end. He was happy that he could win for his crew. Rossi spoke about what winning at IMS means/ “…it’s a hard one to put into words. Every time I come here, I just appreciate it more and more, whether it’s for an event — I mean, obviously the 500, but whether it’s this event, a sponsorship thing, a media thing, giving laps around the track. Like it’s just such an amazing place for us. For me, being my seventh season in the series and knowing what it means to the NTT INDYCAR Series, as well, yeah.
I kind of was hoping on the Road America weekend for it to kind of start and end this drought or whatever there, but it actually ended here was actually kind of a cooler story. To be able to go up on the lift with the guys and let them experience that because that didn’t exist in 2016, there’s a lot of special things about this place. The fan turnout here for us as INDYCAR drivers is always amazing, and seeing everyone with the merch and the autograph session, it’s just a very special thing today for sure.”
I have a feeling the gap to his next win will not be as long. Arrow McLaren SP will be very happy to have Rossi driving for them.
Great day for RLL
Overshadowed by Rossi’s win was Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s best day of the season. The team has struggled for results all season, but today rookie Christian Lundgaard finished a career best second, and Graham Rahal came home in seventh. It would be great to see this team become a factor over the last four races of the year.
Lundgaard extended his lead in the rookie standings to 27 points over David Malukas.
Power Leads- For Now
Will Power retook the points lead over Marcus Ericsson. The difference between them is just nine points. Ericsson won at Nashville, the next race on the schedule.
The top five in points are separated by just 46 points. This race is still wide open.
Colton Herta may not want to race on Saturday anymore. Last Saturday in Iowa he made a great run through the field from his 17th starting spot only to have a mechanical issue and finish 24th. Today he took the lead from ninth and was in control at the halfway point when another issue put him out of the race.
I will have a race wrapup post tomorrow where I will discuss the call to stay green with a car stalled on track, whether three Indycar races at IMS is too many, and if this current shared weekend format should continue.
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (March 7, 2022) — Hy-Vee, Inc. and INDYCAR announce that four award-winning music acts will perform live during Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend, July 22-24, at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Tickets for Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend are on sale now and can be purchased online at http://www.hyveeindycarweekend.com or by calling the race ticket office at (641) 417-6007.
Three-time Grammy award-winning country music superstar Tim McGraw will perform prior to the start of the Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 presented by DoorDash NTT INDYCAR SERIES race on Saturday, July 23. Following Saturday’s race, Billboard record-holding country music duo Florida Georgia Line will take to the stage at Iowa Speedway. On Sunday, July 24, three-time grammy award winner and multi-platinum artist Gwen Stefani will perform prior to the start of the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 presented by Google NTT INDYCAR SERIES race. A performance by nine-time Grammy-nominated country music artist Blake Shelton will provide a memorable ending to the turbocharged weekend following Sunday’s race.
Both pre- and post-race concerts are included with Saturday and Sunday Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend tickets as each artist will perform on stage trackside, in front of the main grandstands at Iowa Speedway. Both pre-race concerts will feature 50-minute performances while each post-race concert will feature a 90-minute show. Ticketholders can also purchase a Post-Race Concert Pit Pass for both the Florida Georgia Line (Saturday) and Blake Shelton (Sunday) live performances. The Post-Race Concert Pit Pass will provide access to an exclusive area near the start/finish line for an up-close view of the live performance. To purchase a Post-Race Concert Pit Pass, visit http://www.hyveeindycarweekend.com.
“We want this event to be one of the most talked about events of the year by providing race-goers with an unforgettable experience,” said Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chairman and CEO. “We are thrilled to work with our sponsors to bring this caliber of musical entertainment to Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway. Iowa will be the place to be this summer with these live music acts coupled with nationally televised INDYCAR races and a festival-like atmosphere that has something for everyone to enjoy.”
In addition to premier on-track action with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, as well as the rising stars of racing competing in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend will include a festival-like atmosphere with three days of music, food and family-focused entertainment, including:
A Food Truck Village featuring dozens of Midwest food trucks Kids’ games and activities on Saturday, July 23 Special activities to honor the nation’s farmers on Sunday, July 24 And much more!
“What an incredible music lineup for fans to enjoy during Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend,” said Bud Denker, president of Penske Corporation, which owns INDYCAR. “With some of the biggest names and best performers in music, combined with great racing at the ‘Fastest Short Track on the Planet,’ the weekend is going to deliver an experience unlike one we have ever seen in INDYCAR. Thanks to the continued support of our partners at Hy-Vee, fans in Iowa will be part of something special during Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend.”
Special thanks are extended to the following Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend sponsors: Accenture, ACI Worldwide, Carrier Access, EMC Insurance Companies, GK Software, Holmes Murphy & Associates, Hussmann, Iowa Lottery, John Deere, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, MercyOne, Mittera, Musco Sports Lighting, Pella Corporation, POET, Prairie Meadows, Principal Financial Group, RSMUS LLP, Salesforce, Seneca and Sukup Manufacturing Co.
West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee first became involved in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES when the supermarket chain was the primary sponsor for Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing’s No. 15 car in Race 2 of the 2020 Iowa Speedway doubleheader. In its third year of sponsoring RLL, Hy-Vee provides primary sponsorship of RLL’s No. 45 car, which will be driven by Jack Harvey, and associate sponsorships of Graham Rahal’s No. 15 car and No. 30 car, which will be driven by newcomer Christian Lundgaard.
Very Thankful for a sponsor like Hyvee and sponsors like Bommarito Automotive Group at Gateway. These groups have jumped into Indycar full bore.
This is the type of programming ovals need to attract more fans. Ovals need to mimic street course races and become festivals. This is the way it needs to be.
How many people will stay for a Sunday post race concert? With a huge draw from Indianapolis, how many fans who need to work Monday will want to head home right after the race instead?
The food truck village is very welcome. Concessions at Iowa have been woefully lacking since 2013.
A kids’ activity area is also something that has been missing from tracks lately. I’m glad to see it added here.
The only thing I’d change about the Iowa weekend is to make Saturday’s race a night race. I don’t care if it has to be on USA or Peacock. This track was made for night racing.
Photo of Christian Lundgaard by James Black, Indycar
Christian Lundgaard had just a few hours to get a taste of Indycar last August, but it was enough to set him on a path for a full time ride in the series. Luindgaard and team owner Bobby Rahal talked about the differences between Indycar and Formula 1, and why they think Indycar presents greater opportunities for younger drivers.
He told the media this morning after Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced Lundgaard as the 2022 driver of car 30,
“In the end it actually came down to what do I personally want and what will I enjoy, and for me when I did the race over here, that’s what I enjoyed the most. I haven’t enjoyed a race weekend as much as that one for years, except obviously when you have a very good weekend in whatever you’re doing and you are winning and dominating. . . Over here it’s pure racing. I like the racing over here. Yeah, that’s what attracts me and the racing itself, so I’m definitely positive for next year.”
Lundgaard understands the challenges he faces on ovals, but is eager to run on them. He counts on his experienced teammates, graham Rahal and Jack Harvey, to help him. LKundgaard appreciates Indycar’s oval history.
“…when I think about INDYCAR, I think about the Indy 500. When you’re sitting at home and someone mentions INDYCAR, you think of the oval tracks, so you know what comes with it. I think the road courses I know. I know how to drive around a road course, but the ovals will definitely be a challenge. I think it’s something that I will have to prepare as much as I can on. I think it’s great to have Graham and Jack with me. They’ve got the experience. The team has got the experience on the oval tracks, so I think for me, it’s about taking it step by step, but at the same time trying to see how much I can learn before getting on to the track. And I’m sure the team has got everything ready for me.”
Lundgaard explained the difference between Formula 1 and Indycar and why he is taking thuis direction.
“INDYCAR is a series where they do this Indy 500, they do ovals. It’s very mixed. It’s a mix of street circuits, road courses, ovals. It’s such a big mix, where you have European tracks, they’re nice and smooth, big runoffs. Specifically in F1 you’ve got some are faster than others and you’ve got to be in the right car to be able to win. Looking at Romain, he came over here and he started winning and performing. I never doubted that he was a good driver even in F1 because I know Kevin as well and he was his teammate and they were fighting each other because that’s the only thing I could do. Over here everyone fights everyone. Everyone has an opportunity to win. That’s what racing stands for. So for me to come over here, I know once I jump in the car I’ve got an opportunity to win no matter which track I’m at, and that’s what racing is, and that’s why I’m here.”
Rahal was asked why he thinks young European drivers ould be attracted to Indycar.
” Well, first off, I think INDYCAR is what Formula 1 used to be, to a large degree. Clearly we don’t have the politics. Clearly we don’t — there’s a lot of things that don’t exist in the INDYCAR paddock that exist in the Formula 1 paddock. You look at how many really good guys are in F2 who maybe are frustrated now because they can’t make that next step, and yet they’ve kind of proven their abilities. As Christian mentioned, I think that — if I’m a young guy in Europe and I look at the potentials, I think the potential for my career is much greater here in INDYCAR than it is there.”
Lundgaard joins Callum Ilott of Juncos-Hollinger Racing as the first two confirmed rookies for 2022. Young drivers in Europe will watch their progress closely next season. Indycar may be on the verge of another European wave.