Story Credit: INDYCAR PR
Photo Credit: INDYCAR Photo
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Saturday, April 30, 2022) – Barber Motorsports Park has been a special place for Linus Lundqvist in his Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires career, and he took it to the next level by winning the pole for Sunday’s Indy Lights Grand Prix of Alabama.
Lundqvist posted a best lap of 1 minute, 12.5713 seconds in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing car midway through the 30-minute qualifying session and withstood several attempts by the other 13 drivers in the field to knock him off the top spot. Less than one second separated the top 12 qualifiers.
The performance so far mirrors his 2021 effort at Barber, where he scored the pole for Race 1 of the doubleheader weekend and drove to his first career Indy Lights win. In Race 2 of the doubleheader, he started and finished second.
“This is just great, and honestly I feel so happy,” Lundqvist said. “We’ve been flat out during these two months of no racing, trying to go a little bit faster, and I think that’s what we showed today.
“I don’t know what it is about this place. I know that I enjoy this place, both everything around it and the track itself. It seems to like both me and the car that we bring to this place. It’s just a good package.”
While nobody could match Lundqvist’s pace in the incident-free qualifying session, his teammate Benjamin Pedersen came close, qualifying second in the No. 24 Global Racing Group with HMD entry at 1:12.5929, just .0216 of a second off Lundqvist’s time.
Sting Ray Robb qualified third at 1:12.6731 in the No. 2 Sekady car, while Christian Rasmussen was the highest-qualifying rookie in fourth at 1:12.6753 in the No. 28 Road to Indy / Stellrecht car. Hunter McElrea rounded out the top five at 1:12.7964 in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport car.
Danial Frost, who dominated the weekend to this point by pacing both practice sessions in the No. 68 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing car, had a disappointing result in qualifying and will start eighth after a best lap of 1:12.9027.
Historically, qualifying up front for Indy Lights races at Barber Motorsports Park has proved incredibly important. In 16 Indy Lights races at the Birmingham, Alabama, track, the winner has started from pole 13 times. The last person to win this race not from the pole was current NTT INDYCAR SERIES star Pato O’Ward when he started second en route to his win in 2018.
Having won from the pole last year, Swedish driver Lundqvist understands the importance of his qualifying performance today on the 17-turn, 2.3-mile circuit, which secured his fourth career Indy Lights pole position.
“It’s always good to start from the front and from the pole,” Lundqvist said. “That’s the best way possible. It’s a long race, and it’s tough around this track, as well, so I’ve got to do my best to end it with a win.”
The Indy Lights Grand Prix of Alabama takes the green flag Sunday at 10:55 a.m. (ET), live on Peacock Premium and INDYCAR Radio Network.