By Diane Swintal
Quick quotes from the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires podium – Sting Ray Robb takes his first series win while Linus Lundqvist finally secures the championship title.
Sting Ray Robb: “It was great to get the win today, but there’s one more tomorrow. They were telling me to save the tires – and in reality, I was. The car was just that hooked up. It’s reminiscent of 2019, when I gave the Indy Pro 2000 win to Kyle Kirkwood (spinning off course from the lead late in the race), but we learn from our mistakes. I was worried after practice yesterday, that we were off pace, and we had a gearbox issue as well. Today was a totally different kind of day so we took Kirkwood’s winning setup from last year and made a change just before the race to address tire deg but you never know. This track changes so much. We’ll watch INDYCAR quali, we can learn a lot from the big cars.
“We have a big group of family and friends here today so it’s good to have the “local” support. And they must be good luck!”
Christian Rasmussen: “I knew it would happen at the start, or at the very end. I had the calculations on how late I could brake but unfortunately, we got hit. Sting Ray was super quick, I don’t think we could have gotten him. Lesson learned about tire deg – we knew it would be big, didn’t know it would be that big. We’ll see how we can manage that tomorrow.”
Hunter McElrea: “It was an interesting day. Qualifying was a disaster. We’re in a three-way battle for second in points and that doesn’t help. I was still mad at the start and I just threw it in there and came out third. That was one of the most challenging driving races I’ve had, hanging on for dear life. Starting ninth tomorrow but anything can happen. We’ll definitely go in a different direction with setup.”
Linus Lundqvist: “This is difficult to put into words. I thought I had my emotions under control, but I was clearly wrong. Once we crossed the checkered flag, I realized what I had done. It’s been a long journey, proud of where we are and the people we’ve gotten here with. We waited to celebrate until after the race – we wanted to do well in the race! It wasn’t the best race for us, which was annoying – at least until I passed the start/finish line and saw the team on the wall.
“We have a race tomorrow, so not too much celebrating, but tomorrow will be a proper celebration.
Henry Malukas: “This is pure excitement. HMD has been in this series for two years and I can’t take any credit – we have an amazing group. Linus is a true champion, I’m so glad he came back this year so we could show what we can do as a team. There’s more to come.
“We’ve talked about next year, it would be cool to see him with David, they would push each other just like they did last year in Indy Lights. It’s possible.”
Malukas did confirm that the team is considering a solo NTT INDYCAR SERIES effort, but that is in the future, not 2023.
Daiva Malukas: “I’m extremely happy for Linus and for the team – they worked so hard. It’s so exciting.”
Mike Maurini: “To go against Andretti Autosport is great – they have more resources than we currently have but we’re working to change that. Thanks to Henry and Daiva and to the entire team.”
Maurini confirmed eight Indy Lights cars in the team, including some rookies and “some surprises.”
Photo Credit: Mattias Persson / Motorsport Publication