Photo Courtesy of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingFirestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, March 4, 2023


1)     Romain Grosjean        59.5532 / 108.810 mph        (Group 2, Round 3)
11)   Christian Lundgaard   59.9618 / 108.069 mph        (Group 1, Round 2)
19)   Jack Harvey                 1:00.7270 / 106.707 mph     (Group 1, Round 3)
20)   Graham Rahal             1:00.3714 / 107.336 mph     (Group 2, Round 3)

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We ended up 10th in our session, which was way more compact than Group 1. Actually we made a lot of progress, the car was a lot more consistent. Yesterday I complained about the brakes, and we just changed them for qualifying and the car was night and day and that hampered our session too. It may not look like it, but the truth of the matter is, I think we made some great progress. My very first lap should have been two-to-two-and-one-half-tenths quicker which probably wouldn’t have advanced but I went into Turn 1 and the rears locked and I got a little bit wide and that hurt my best lap on those tires; they’re one lap tires. I’m not going to go to bed tonight angry because I actually feel like, finally this session, we made some progress. Up until this session I was totally lost. I think that we’re on the right path and that we can make a pretty good, pretty-consistent race car out of it. The tire degradation on these green tires is going to be tremendous and so if we can find a way to make those last, we can use strategy to our advantage a little bit here, and if so, I think that we will be okay.” 

  • FAST FACTS: Will make his 16th start at the track… His best start here is pole in 2009 and best finish is a win in 2008 in his IndyCar Series debut – both history-making moments at the time as he became the youngest race winner in series history (2008), and youngest pole winner in series history (2009). Both records were eclipsed in 2019 by Colton Herta but he held them for 10 and 11 years, respectively.  Overall, he has earned one top-five and seven top-10 starts here and has two top-five and six top-10 finishes. Year-by-year details are available upon request… Has SIX INDYCAR SERIES wins (2008 – St. Pete street course; 2015 – Fontana Super Speedway, Mid-Ohio road course; 2016 – Texas Super Speedway; 2017 Detroit Race 1, Detroit Race 2) and three poles (2009 – St. Pete street course, Kansas oval; 2017 – Detroit Race 1 street) and his highest series season-ending standing is fourth place in 2015.

JACK HARVEY, No. 45 Kustom Entertainment Dallara/Honda/Firestone:“That was actually a disappointing session for us. It sucks that our worst session this weekend was qualifying. The No. 30 Kustom Entertainment car has been really good for our practices so I’m not really sure what happened there in the session. It was a big disappointment because of how good we felt we were. The good news is its going to be a black tire race and the car is good on those so hopefully we can move forward.”

  • FAST FACTS: The 2023 race will be his sixth here. To date, he has started in the top-five two of five races and has two, top-10 finishes with his best being fourth place in 2021. His career best start is second place three times – including at St. Pete in 2021 – and top finish of third at the Indy GP in 2019. Last year he started 23rd and was the first to stop to replace the less durable alternate Firestone tires on Lap 8 of 100 and was on a three-stop strategy. He made up ground and ultimately finished 13th.

CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD, No. 45 Hy-Vee Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I’m happy with how we executed qualifying even though I’m a little disappointed that we had to get through that strategy that we did. Good thing is that it’s a black (tire) race here so we don’t need the reds or greens — the guayule tires. I’m happy that we managed to get through it. It was either starting 18th or starting 11th or 12th and we would rather want to start 11th or 12th. It’s a good execution from the team even though we didn’t have the package that we were expecting to have.”

  •  FAST FACTS: 2022 INDYCAR Rookie of the Year Christian Lundgaard, 21, will begin his second season in the series in 2023 and attempt to better his top start of third place in Nashville and Portland in 2022 and his highest finish of second place in the July ’22 Indy Grand Prix. In St. Pete last year, he started 15th, pit for his second and final stop after cycling up to fourth place and finished 11th.

NEXT UP:  The race day warm-up will take place from 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. ET tomorrow. Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be televised live on NBC beginning at 12 PM ET on Sunday, March 5 and the Green Flag will fly at 12:30 PM ET.