By Tony DiZinno
The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series is getting pretty good at sending its drivers out in mixed conditions races lately, and Linus Lundqvist is getting pretty good at winning them.
Lundqvist won a barnburner at Barber Motorsports Park when the field there ran a full race on wet Cooper Tires on a drying to almost completely dry track, holding off HMD Motorsports teammate Benjamin Pedersen in the process.
Today, the field then was meant to go back out after 6:20 p.m. ET to restart the second race of this weekend’s doubleheader on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. It was paused this morning due to lightning in the area, and postponed until later in the day.
This restart was set to occur following a frenetic, chaotic, wet-to-dry-to-wet NTT INDYCAR Series race that ran up against a 2-hour time limit and only wrapped at 5:50 p.m. ET and local time.
But, restarting proved more difficult than expected. The IMS track was soaked with a mix of rain and standing water in the pit lane before the 14 Indy Lights cars could venture out. There were a dozen safety vehicles trying to clear standing water in Turn 1, and the restart was placed on hold until track conditions could improve. By 6:40 p.m., they’d packed up the safety vehicles and moved the cars back into the grid.
Here was the restart order, with Lundqvist up front ahead of Matthew Brabham, Christian Rasmussen, Hunter McElrea and Friday winner Danial Frost. For a recap of the first 14 laps, click here.
Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis – Race #2 Running Order (through 14 of 35 laps)
|1||26||Linus Lundqvist||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||14|
|2||83||Matthew Brabham||Andretti Autosport||14|
|3||28||Christian Rasmussen||Andretti Autosport||14|
|4||27||Hunter McElrea||Andretti Autosport||14|
|5||68||Danial Frost||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||14|
|6||99||Ernie Francis Jr.||Force Indy||14|
|7||11||Antonio Serravalle||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||14|
|8||2||Sting Ray Robb||Andretti Autosport||14|
|9||24||Benjamin Pedersen||Global Racing Group with HMD||14|
|10||21||Kyffin Simpson||TJ Speed Motorsports||14|
|11||7||Christian Bogle||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||14|
|12||61||Ryan Phinny||Abel Motorsports||14|
|13||12||James Roe||TJ Speed Motorsports||14|
|14||51||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||14|
Just after 6:50 p.m. ET, the cars hit the track, now all on Cooper Tires wet weather rubber.
How different were track conditions? Before the Indy Lights race was paused, temperatures were 85 degrees ambient and 123 on track. After it restarted, it was down significantly to 67 ambient and 73 on track.
Brabham restarted in second, ahead of Rasmussen, McElrea and Frost before he went off course at Turn 4. That brought a full-course caution and dropped him back down the order to 13th place.
Frost had slight nose damage to his No. 68 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing car.
The race restarted again at the end of Lap 19, although it went back to yellow briefly following contact between Jacob Abel and James Roe Jr. at Turn 3. These two drove off course to avoid a spinning Ernie Francis Jr. Antonio Serravalle also appeared to have issues exiting Turn 14 but continued.
Another restart occurred at the end of Lap 22, start of Lap 23. Pedersen made a move to Frost’s inside for third entering Turn 3, and McElrea followed him through for fourth. Brabham recovered up to eighth by this point, with Francis Jr. and Abel in hot pursuit.
Francis Jr. hit the chicane curbs at Turn 5 and 6 and the Force Indy car took flight but landed safely. Abel passed him for ninth.
On Lap 24, Rasmussen missed the Turn 12 apex and dropped to fourth position behind McElrea now in third and Pedersen in second.
Rasmussen put on a great recovery charge though to get back by McElrea and Pedersen by the end of Lap 27. He ended Lap 28 4.8433 seconds behind Lundqvist.
Robb executed a smart pass of McElrea for fourth with a run down the front straight into Turn 1 on Lap 30. He repeated the feat on Pedersen for third a lap later.
Abel was also on the move, carving his way up to sixth by Lap 34. Kyffin Simpson followed Abel through on Frost on the same circuit. He then over-undered McElrea for fifth on the final lap!
Lundqvist though wasn’t headed and cruised home to his second win of the year and fifth in his Indy Lights career. Rasmussen was second with Robb third, Pedersen fourth and Abel a season-high fifth.
An effusive Lundqvist emerged from his car, displayed the Swedish flag and exulted in the win through a chaotic, long day.
“Firstly a massive thank you to the team. It’s been such a long day for all of us. To have to wait and then run in the wet, the car was on fire. I have to give a special thanks to my sponsor, Racemore,” he told the Peacock race broadcast.
“Yes, I learned a bit with Barber. I knew this track would dry out and it was manage the left front. Christian put some pressure on, but I opened up a gap.
“We just worked well together and showed the pace on the weekends. I work with the same team, mechanics, engineers and are hitting our sweet spot this year.”
Provisionally, Lundqvist now holds a 32-point lead in the championship over Frost (173-141), with Robb third 36 back, Pedersen 42 back in fourth and Brabham 54 back in fifth.
The series resumes in June at The Raceway on Belle Isle Park in Detroit, for the final time at that venue before the race heads to downtown Detroit in 2023.
Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis – Race #2 Unofficial Results
|1||26||Linus Lundqvist||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||35||LAP 35|
|2||28||Christian Rasmussen||Andretti Autosport||35||3.5993|
|3||2||Sting Ray Robb||Andretti Autosport||35||7.6291|
|4||24||Benjamin Pedersen||Global Racing Group with HMD||35||12.8071|
|5||51||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||35||13.0001|
|6||27||Hunter McElrea||Andretti Autosport||35||14.4895|
|7||68||Danial Frost||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||35||15.7282|
|8||21||Kyffin Simpson||TJ Speed Motorsports||35||15.8957|
|9||83||Matthew Brabham||Andretti Autosport||35||16.0668|
|10||99||Ernie Francis Jr.||Force Indy||35||27.6464|
|11||11||Antonio Serravalle||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||35||33.5344|
|12||61||Ryan Phinny||Abel Motorsports||35||45.0071|
|13||12||James Roe||TJ Speed Motorsports||34||1 LAPS|
|14||7||Christian Bogle||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||34||1 LAPS|