Source: Team PR
LUNDGAARD FINISHED FOURTH IN THE GMR GRAND PRIX; RAHAL BATTLED FROM THE BACK AFTER OPENING LAP CONTACT TO FINISH 10TH AND HARVEY RAN AS HIGH AS THIRD BUT FINISHED 20TH
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I didn’t see anybody on my inside and I gave him (Kirkwood) so much room to the apex on purpose just to give him some room not to make a mistake and hit me. I gave him two car widths probably to the apex in Turn 1 and shouldn’t have been touched. That’s disappointing. But, obviously, we have to turn the page now. We had a great save to do a two-stop race from there on and finish in the top 10. I think it’s pretty sweet when you consider how many guys we got ahead of and how far ahead of them we got, which was pretty good. Hopefully a really strong Indy 500 is next. That’s got to be the goal.”
- FAST FACTS: Sixth place starter Kirkwood made contact with Rahal, who had pulled ahead in the first few turns of the opening lap. It sent him into other cars and he ultimately had to pit to replace a right rear, punctured tire. A caution came out after that for two other cars and he pit to top off before the race returned to green. He climbed into the lead for seven laps at one point and ultimately finished 10th to salvage his race… The GMR GP was 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 moved up one position in the point standings to 15th with 86.
JACK HARVEY, No. 30 Kustom Entertainment Dallara/Honda/Firestone:“It’s confusing really. You know all weekend we’ve been pretty strong in both practices, qualifying and warm-up. The race, we actually made a great start and I had a flat spot going into Turn 1 and I don’t think we had to pit in a reasonable window and came out right behind Ericsson and then after that I don’t know, we just didn’t really have the pace. So, yeah, I’m pretty confused how the rest of the race panned out the way it did. It was a pretty disappointing day. I think in general the performance of the weekend has been better. We were back in the Fast 6 and started in the top five, making some progress for sure. We just need to figure out how to make our race cars better a bit. I think overall it’s been a productive weekend. Just disappointed we didn’t follow it through today.”
- FAST FACTS: He started fourth and took over third on the first lap. He sustained some wing damage early on and later spun and continued on Lap 30. He ultimately finished 20th… The 2023 GMR Grand Prix marked his 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 moved up two positions in the standings to 21st with 53 points.
CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD, No. 45 Hy-Vee Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Right now I’m satisfied with fourth. It was a tough day. The RLL No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda has just been quick all weekend. It wasn’t as quick today unfortunately but to come home with fourth, there was a point in this race where I thought we weren’t going to finish in the top 10 with that pace and the balance of the car. So, to end up fourth is a win right now. But, I think we need to look at the perspective of how great performance-wise we’ve run all weekend. That’s the positives to take from this weekend. Now we move on and can start the month of May.
(How was the car on used reds:) “It was strange because that one set, the rears were going off but then the previous red set I was just under-steering like crazy. So I didn’t really understand how we got the balance so wrong. Then again, those are things we need to learn from now on. Of course, it was the set that has run in the Fast Six and we’re not in the Fast Six that often. So, these are the things that we need to learn moving on. We’ll try our best.”
- FAST FACTS: He started from his first series pole and led the majority of the first lap until third-place starter Palou, on faster alternate tires to his harder, primary ones, passed for the lead into Turn 14. He regained the lead on Laps 18-19 after Palou pit. Tire strategy played an integral part and on one stint he was on used alternate tires when the race favored used or sticker primaries. On Lap 57 he dropped from second to third when O’Ward passed him. He held the position through a stop and was passed by Ericsson on Lap 76/85 for fourth. He held off Rosenqvist until the checkered flag to maintain fourth place… 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 climbed three spots in the point standings to rank 9th with 111 points.
NEXT UP: Opening Day for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 is Tuesday, May 16.