Representing Be the One in INDYCAR a ‘win-win’ for Linus Lundqvist 
Photo by Hilary Ott /The American Legion

Representing Be the One in INDYCAR a ‘win-win’ for Linus Lundqvist 

Linus Lundqvist isn’t just good in a racecar. He’s also handy with barbershop tools of the trade.

The driver of the No. 8 American Legion Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) for most of the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, Lundqvist joined the team in August after finishing third in the 2021 INDY NXT points race and then winning the championship by 92 points a year later. He also got behind the wheel for three INDYCAR races last season for Meyer Shank Racing, posting the fastest lap time in two of the three races.

The 24-year-old Lundqvist talked with American Legion Social Media Manager Steven B. Brooks about the opportunity to drive for CGR, representing The American Legion and Be the One, and how he hasn’t paid for a haircut in years.

Steven B. Brooks: What does it feel like getting an opportunity with Chip Ganassi Racing: a team that has drivers in contention every year not just in races, but in the INDYCAR SERIES season championship hunt? And what’s it like being able to work alongside the CGR drivers, including two – Scott Dixon and Alex Palou – with multiple series championships?

Linus Lundqvist: This is very much a dream come true to be able to first race in INDYCAR, but then to do it with a team like Chip Ganassi Racing, it’s incredible.  And to race alongside drivers like Alex Palou and Scott Dixon, there’s no other place you’d want to be as a rookie. The ability to have those guys as my teammates … and learn from them, it’s invaluable. And hopefully, we’ll be up there one day fighting for wins, because at the end of the day that’s what we’re here to do. But I know it’s going to be a steep learning curve here at the beginning, and I’m going to be like a sponge and just absorb as much information as I can from the guys and girls on the team, but also from the other drivers.

Question: You had a lot of success in the INDY NXT series. Can you draw from that experience, and from getting out on the track for a few INDYCAR races last year, racing for CGR this season?

Lundqvist: Yes, absolutely. Every year that you’re doing racing you learn something. I’ve been fortunate enough to have won races and championships in the past. And I want to believe that’s one of the reasons why Chip (Ganassi) hired me at the end of the day. We know that he likes winners. And that’s kind of why I’m here as well: to continue to fight for wins and championships. And the (INDYCAR) races last year, those were crucial for me. That opened the door and, I think, turned a lot of heads and gave me the opportunity to sit in this position where I am right now. I’m going to try to draw from all the experience that I have to create some good results here in this and the following seasons to come.

Question: You’re going to be driving The American Legion No. 8 Honda, which represents all of the veterans in the Legion and the American Legion Family. But in doing so, you’re also representing veterans across the nation. What does it feel like to be able to represent that group?

Lundqvist: I’m incredibly honored to be running The American Legion car, I think for two reasons. First, obviously it has in terms of racing history a lot of success. The car, the livery has won races, won championships. But I think the bigger picture is that you’re part of something bigger here. You’re not just racing. You’re actually a small piece in the big puzzle, which is that at the end of the day to try to save lives. So to get more involved, and understand and get to know the veteran community more and more has been incredible. There’s a feeling of being a part of something bigger than yourself and bigger than racing, which I’m incredibly honored to be a part of.

Question:  Does it feel a little bit different representing a cause, with the cause being Be the One and veteran suicide prevention and awareness, rather than maybe just a regular sponsorship?

Lundqvist: One hundred percent. And if anything, it motivates you even higher, because you know you’re representing not a product, but you’re representing something bigger – something that at the end of the day fights to save lives. If anything, it’s going to make me work even harder trying to represent The American Legion at the front of the races and trying to bring as much as attention to it as we can by winning races. For me, it’s a win-win, in the sense that it’s extra motivation, but also, I’m incredibly honored and proud to be part of this community and hopefully play a small part in this.

Question: Tell us something we don’t know about you?

Lundqvist: My favorite food is sushi. My favorite TV series of all time is “Band of Brothers.” My favorite movie of all time is “Schindler’s List.” I can juggle. Also, I cut my own hair, and I’ve done that the past four years.