Linus Lundqvist, pole sitter for Indy Lights Grand Prix Of Alabama Presented by Cooper Tires Race #1 on track in the HPD/Global Racing Group/FX Airguns/Paytrim/JULA sponsored No. 26 Photo credit: Gavin Baker Photography/Road to Indy

By Steve Wittich

Three Road To Indy qualifying sessions done. Three new Barber Motorsports Park track record laps in the books.

Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports rookie Linus Lundqvist set a lap of 71.5149 seconds late in the first Indy Lights qualifying session in 18 months to grab his first career Indy Lights and Road To Indy pole. The Swede is no stranger to starting on the pole at Barber Motorsports Park. Making three inside front row starts in the Formula Regional Americas Championship at the Birmingham, Ala. track.

“It feels good to give this one back to the team, I know how hard they’ve worked this winter to make sure we have a good car,” said Lundqvist. “It was just up to me to do my job today, and it was enough to get pole. There are guys in the series who have a lot of miles in these cars so to be on top in my first qualifying is great, but from day one I’ve had the support and the knowledge from the team and the mechanics to come up to speed. It’s a very different car than anything I’ve driven before but I won here last year (in FR Americas) so it’s just about maximizing everything.”

Lundqvist will be joined on the front row by teammate sophomore David Malukas (HMD Motorsports), his best career Indy Lights start.

Starting on the second row is the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires champion Kyle Kirkwood and Lundqvist’s Global Racing Group w/HMD teammate Benjamin Pedersen.

Ten of the baker’s dozen entries were within one second of Lundqvist.

The first of two 30-minute Friday qualifying sessions for the Indy Lights Grand Prix of Alabama, Presented By Cooper, got started at precisely 11 am. When qualifying began, the ambient temperature was 59F, and the track temperature was 84.4F.

The front row starting Global Racing Group w/HMD and HMD Motorsports teammates spent the first half of the qualifying session trading the provisional pole back and forth.

Kirkwood, Sowery, and Megennis were the other regulars in the top five in the first 15-minutes of track time.

Malukas, with a lap timed at 71.9907 seconds, held the top spot at the halfway point of the first qualifying session. The Chicago, Ill.-based driver was the only pilot under 72 seconds.

With five minutes left in the session, Lundqvist went to the top of the timing screens and the provisional pole for the final time, improving on his pole-winning

qualifying #1 results

1 26 Linus Lundqvist Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports 1:11.5149 ——
2 79 David Malukas HMD Motorsports 1:11.6815 0.1666
3 28 Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Autosport 1:11.8064 0.2915
4 24 Benjamin Pedersen Global Racing Group wHMD Motorsports 1:11.8348 0.3199
5 51 Toby Sowery Juncos Racing 1:12.0785 0.5636
6 17 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 1:12.0929 0.5780
7 5 Alex Peroni Carlin 1:12.1027 0.5878
8 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 1:12.1351 0.6202
9 2 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing 1:12.3226 0.8077
10 68 Danial Frost Andretti Autosport 1:12.4111 0.8962
11 59 Nikita Lastochkin HMD Motorsports 1:12.6956 1.1807
12 7 Christian Bogle Carlin 1:12.9317 1.4168
13 11 Antonio Serravalle Pserra Racing 1:13.1317 1.6168

The Indy Lights drivers will be back on track at 3 pm (central) for their second qualifying session of the day.

Saturday’s Indy Lights Grand Prix is set to get the green flag at 12:15 pm (central).