IndyCar’s resident Great Dane, Christian Lundgaard, scored the first pole of his NTT IndyCar Series career in style, holding off Arrow McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist during Friday (May 12) qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing began the month of May in style. In addition to Lundgaard’s pole, the team also saw Jack Harvey qualify a strong fourth and Graham Rahal ended up a solid eighth on the grid.
Alex Palou qualified in third, to complete the first two rows of the starting lineup. Rain seemed like it could come at any moment in qualifying, but it never did throughout any of the sessions.
“Honestly, I was hoping for this, I just wasn’t expecting it.” Lundgaard said to NBC after celebrating on pit road. “… Every time I’ve been in the car [since Barber], I’ve told the team it’s a great day to be in America. And, here we go, the first NTT pole of the year[…] We definitely have a shot at it, we’ll be leading the field to green. That’s where we want to be, just need to stay there for the rest of the race.”
Firestone Fast Six
No incidents peppered the final session. In fact, the only incident in all of qualifying was a single-car spin in the first group at the start of qualifying. A big wiggle in turn eight on the final hot lap doomed Rosenqvist’s chances to get by Lundgaard on the grid.
There was a lot of action in the closing moments, as the track really started to pick up grip. Enough to where four of the top six felt unsafe enough to take another fast lap at the end of the session.
Palou was able to lead the way in this round with Lundgaard in second.
Eliminated from Round 2 were:
8. Graham Rahal
9. Scott Dixon
10. Alexander Rossi
11. Marcus Armstrong
12. Will Power
Round 1 Group 1
Lundgaard paced the group, beating teammate Rahal by almost a tenth of a second. Rosenqvist was third on the board.
Lundgaard was also the fastest of the first lap banker laps.
The Meyer Shank Racing teammates of Simon Pagenaud and Benjamin Pedersen went out early in the second run but were able to stay out of everybody’s way during the fast laps until the final seconds of the session.
Josef Newgarden had to slow from a spinning Pedersen in the last segment of his final lap and was unable to advance out of the group. Pedersen was able to re-fire and get back to pit road.
Eliminated from Round 1 in Group 1 were:
17. Rinus Veekay
21. Conor Daly
25. Agustin Canapino
Round 1 Group 2
A very loaded group two featured Arrow McLaren going one-two, with O’Ward having the top speed and Rossi ending up second. Colton Herta and Scott McLaughlin surprisingly did not make it into the top six. Dixon was able to advance in spite of almost wrecking out.
Palou was very slow on his outlap, but was able to get the car working again.
Romain Grosjean, after qualifying 18th, wasn’t happy and yelled at his team on pit road after the session.
Eliminated from Round 1 in Group 2 were:
20. David Malukas
22. Sting Ray Robb
24. Callum Ilott
27. Santino Ferrucci
The 2023 GMR Grand Prix will take place Saturday, May 13, at 3:30 p.m. ET with coverage on NBC and Peacock.
About the author
Michael has watched NASCAR for 20 years and regularly covered the sport from 2013-2021. He moved on to Formula 1, IndyCar, and SRX coverage for the site, while still putting a toe in the water from time-to-time back into the NASCAR pool.
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