Lundqvist gets first pole in No. 8 American Legion Honda

Lundqvist gets first pole in No. 8 American Legion Honda

After an admitted “rough” month of racing, it was all smiles for Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) rookie Linus Lundqvist and the crew of the No. 8 American Legion Honda at Road America in Wisconsin on Saturday.

In a day that featured torrential rain and then a dry track, Lundqvist steadily moved through XPEL Grand Prix qualifications, earning a spot in the Fast 12 and then edging out CGR teammate Alex Palou for a run at the pole in the Fast 6. Once there, Lundqvist delivered a time of 01:45.1519 to edge out Colton Herta and earn his first-even NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole. He’ll lead the pack in the No. 8 American Legion that highlights the organization’s Be the One veteran suicide prevention program.

“I mean, it's huge. What makes it even bigger is to do it together with Chip Ganassi Racing and the American Legion, as well,” Lundqvist said in the press conference afterward. “Especially with their message, to Be the One. It feels special to be able to say that proudly now. It feels you're representing something bigger than racing and bigger than life.

“To be able to bring that to the forefront, to the front of the row, front of the field I should say, is something I'm incredibly proud of. Hopefully not the last time.”

The pole came at a good time for Lundqvist and his crew. “Over the last couple races, the month of May was kind of rough for us,” he said. “I kind of came in wanting to rebuild my confidence. Detroit was not a confidence builder. It was a rough place. Coming in here was a bit of a reset. I mean, this is one way of doing it, I suppose. Dare I say, this was surprising even to me.”

Early qualifications took place in heavy rain before reducing to light showers and eventually sunny conditions. The change required a tire change for Lundqvist in the Fast 6 after driving on rain tires up to that point.

“It was crazy. I say one of the craziest qualifying sessions I've had,” Lundqvist said. “This feels like an average British F3 qualifying back in the day type of style where started off torrential rain, then the last part it dried up, we threw on the slicks. It was kind of fun going back to that, a little bit back to my roots. Even growing up back in Sweden, half the races we did were in the rain. I'm pretty comfortable there.”

It was another strong performance for Chip Ganassi Racing, as well five cars qualified for the Fast 12. Marcus Armstrong will start third, his best career starting position, while Palou – driving the No. 10 DHL Honda featuring American Legion branding – is seventh.

“It was really close,” said Palou, who sits in second place in the INDYCAR SERIES points race. “We had it for a couple of moments and then we lost it. We just didn’t have the grip that I had on the first set of tires, which were used, which was a little bit odd. It’s tight here, so if you don’t nail your lap you’re out. A bit sad, but we’ll work from seventh (today).”

CGR’s Scott Dixon will start 10ths, while rookie Kyffin Simpson starts 12 after advancing to his first career Fast 12.

Tune into NBC and Peacock beginning at 3:30 p.m. for coverage.

To learn more about Be the One, click here.