Source: Team PR
Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingGMR Grand Prix – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – May 12, 2023
LUNDGAARD WON HIS FIRST INDYCAR CAREER POLE FOR THE GMR GRAND PRIX; HARVEY AND RAHAL TO START FOURTH AND EIGHTH, RESPECTIVELY
1) Christian Lundgaard 1:09.4639 / 126.402 mph (Group 1, Round 3)
4) Jack Harvey 1:09.6899 / 125.992 mph (Group 2, Round 3)
8) Graham Rahal 1:10.2950 / 124.908 mph (Group 1, Round 2)
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I think we’re always traditionally pretty solid here but the boys and engineering staff have done a great job in just getting our cars into a better window. Obviously Christian and Jack have done a wonderful job all day. For us to close the gap (from the previous sessions) to them like that was pretty good. I’ve been struggling a lot more with the rear of my car then they have but I’m bummed. I’m not going to lie, I was on one that was a 3.0 or so, so to not make it to Round 3 is a disappointment. I guess I lost it in Turn 9 but, man, is this not the most competitive motorsport in the world? I mean, when you’re talking earlier today two-tenths was the difference between second and 15th. It’s unbelievable and you can’t miss a beat. But we’ve got a good start for the No. 15 Fifth Third Bank car.”
- FAST FACTS: The GMR GP will be Rahal’s 13th Indy car race on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Rahal finished second on the road course at IMS in 2015 and 2020… 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… He is currently ranked 16th in NTT INDYCAR SERIES point standings with 65.
JACK HARVEY, No. 30 Kustom Entertainment Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I think it was just honestly a fantastic team performance. Absolutely amazing job to everyone at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing to dive into the problems that we’ve had and be able to come to the track with a good solution. Obviously, congrats to Christian and everyone on the No. 45 Hy-Vee car for the pole position today. I thought we were very, very close to him in P4 and hardly any time away from it. Graham and the No. 15 did a great job in P8. I just want to do these pole performances shoot outs all of the time because qualifying is much more fun when you’re doing it for all three rounds. I’m really happy for everyone on the No. 30 Kustom Entertainment car. I don’t see any reason why we can’t push for a podium tomorrow and let’s go for the win!”
- FAST FACTS: The 2023 GMR Grand Prix will mark the ninth INDYCAR Series race on the road course and 13th overall including four Indy Lights races from 2014-2015. His highest series start is second place, and he has accomplished the feat three times, including here (2020 – IMS road course, Road America Race 2; 2021 – St. Pete). The IMS road course is also the site of his highest series finish of third place in 2019. He has three top-three series starts on the IMS road course, which is a personal best of any track on the schedule. In Indy Lights, he competed in four races on the IMS road course and has two poles and two wins, three top-three starts, and three top-two finishes. Last year in the first of two IMS road course races, he ran as high as third place in one of the craziest races in recent INDYCAR history but a penalty for making contact with Ericsson after leaving his pit box relegated him to the back of the field. He had been running seventh prior to his stop but some ahead were expected to pit soon for rain tires so a podium was still in his sights. Once he went to the back of the field in 20th place, he climbed up to 13th before the race ended after 75 of the 85 laps due to a time limit. In July, he was 0.0653 from progressing to Round 2 in qualifying and was seventh in his group to earn a 13th place start. In the race, he gained three spots to run 10th on the start and cycled up to seventh before his first pit stop on Lap 13 and cycled into 9th by his second stop on Lap 35/85 before a caution for Pagenaud, who appeared to run out of fuel. On the next stint he ran in 14th place and chose the more durable primary tires for his final stint from Laps 60-85 when the majority of the field opted for the faster, but less durable alternates. He ultimately finished 20th. He is ranked 23rd with 43 points.
CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD, No. 45 Hy-Vee Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The Hy-Vee Honda has been fast all day. I was hoping for this but I wasn’t quite expecting it. I can finally call this (IMS) home, I think. It feels amazing. Waking up this morning, I knew we were going to have a chance to get into the Fast Six because we’ve done that pretty much every time we’ve been here and I hoped it was going to happen, and now I can sit here and it’s a reality, which is pretty cool. Honestly, right now it feels awesome getting my first NTT P1 award, but with that said, Jack is P4 and Graham is P8. That is the best qualifying we’ve had in those two years that we’ve been teammates. I think it shows the progress that we’re on. It’s taken a little longer than we would have liked, but now we’ve got to finish it off tomorrow, but I’m just super happy for the team.
“My podium here last year, it was a big relief for me and the team. I knew my ability to be able to finish on the podium. I know what I’m capable of. But to deliver it to the team is what meant the most to me, and this, too. Everyone works so hard. We built a new facility. It hasn’t paid off until now, so we’re going to keep digging deep. Honestly, I didn’t really think that lap was good enough, but I was a little annoyed that Jack was faster than me on the first run because that used to be my number, and I saw it on top, so I was like, yes! No, wait a minute, that’s not me anymore. That just shows what it means to the team, as well, having two cars in there. I would have liked to share the front row with him, though, but we’ll save that for another time.”
- FAST FACTS: While an FIA Formula 2 driver, Christian Lundgaard, then 20, made his INDYCAR debut with the team at the August 14, 2021, Grand Prix at IMS. The Danish driver tested an Indy car for the first time with the team at Barber Motorsports Park on July 26 and had plenty of new elements to adjust to during a compressed, two-day event schedule but surprised many when he qualified fourth for the race. He finished 12th in the race while battling food poisoning. In 2022, he finished ninth in the May Grand Prix last year and earned his first podium of second place in the July event. In that event, he earned his best start of the season at that point of sixth. In the race, he moved into fourth on the opening lap ahead of Power and O’Ward, who had an issue. He was passed by Herta before Kellett brought out a caution and passed Newgarden on the restart to regain fourth. He passed Rosenqvist for third on Lap 9 before his first stop on Lap 14. He held third through the majority of the race and claimed second place on Lap 42/85 when previous leader Herta slowed on course. In the late stages of the race, he pressured eventual winner Rossi but took the checkered flag 3.5 seconds behind him for his first series podium and a career-best finish of second place… He is ranked 12th place in the point standings with 77 points.
RLL AT THE IMS ROAD COURSE…. The GMR Grand Prix will mark the 13th NTT INDYCAR SERIES race on the 2.439-mile road course. The team’s best finish here is second in 2015 and July 4, 2020 by Rahal and second in Race 2 in 2022 by Lundgaard. The previous best start was fourth in 2020 by Rahal until today’s POLE by Lundgaard.
NEXT UP: Warmup for the GMR Grand Prix will take place from 11:00-11:30 AM and NBC will begin coverage of the 85-lap race at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.