An Action-Packed Race is Expected After Practice 1 on the New Detroit Grand Prix Course Saw Six Red Flag Stoppages Over 1.5 Hours

#45: Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingChevrolet Detroit Grand Prix


1)           Pato O’Ward                                 1:03.0773 / 93.885 mph     
12)        Christian Lundgaard                   1:04.1978 / 92.246 mph     
16)        Graham Rahal                              1:04.4797 / 91.843 mph
18)        Jack Harvey                                  1:04.6777 / 91.562 mph

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I thought the United Rentals car was solid. On the reds (Firestone alternate tires) no one got a good lap but, us in particular, we were stuck I traffic the whole time. We got one shot at it and it was a decent lap. The next lap was up but we had only taken two corners but I was already up a couple of tenths but there was somebody in the runoff of Turn 1 so that was that lap. And then that was it. I feel like we’re top-10-ish but we have a little work to do to have the pace that Pato put up there. The biggest challenge is to hit the bumps right. It’s unbelievably bumpy and if you miss the angle at all, you’re in big trouble so the biggest challenge is to hit those angles correctly.”

  • FAST FACTS: The event will mark Rahal’s 19th race in Detroit. His father, Bobby, won the inaugural race on Belle Isle in 1992 and Graham hopes to repeat the feat on the new downtown track. In 2022 on Belle Isle, Graham’s race came to an early end after he bottomed out in Turn 2, lost traction and hit the wall on Lap 2 and retired from the race. In 2021, he finished fifth in both races here. In 2019, he earned two seventh place finishes. Rahal’s most successful race weekend came in Detroit in 2017 where he won Dual 1 from pole and won Dual 2 from a third place start. His other podiums in the race came in 2014 with second place in Dual 1 and third place in Dual 2 in 2015.  Overall, he has two wins, four podiums and one pole in 15 races here…  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 ranked 17th in series standings with 94 points.

JACK HARVEY, 30 Kustom Entertainment Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Braking in Turn 3 was consistently one of my most challenging areas. Braking everywhere, really. We’re just not stopping the car the way we really need to. We’re struggling to turn through it. One of the things I thought was kind of hard was when I was on one lap and I would look down and be one-half of a second off what I had done the lap before and the next one I was a half a tenth (of a second) quicker. The way the time was coming was a little, not organic maybe. The Kustom Entertainment car is fine currently. I don’t know if we have Pato-type pace but certainly what Christian did is achievable. There is a lot of speed to try to find tonight.”

  • FAST FACTS: This will mark Jack’s fourth race in Detroit and he is optimistic of a competitive performance after qualifying fourth at the previous road course race at IMS this year. In 2022, he finished 15th on Belle Isle with RLL. He competed in the 2021 INDYCAR doubleheader for Meyer Shank Racing where he started 19th, ran as high as ninth and finished 16th after five stops to the winner’s two due to a puncture and alternate strategy. He started 18th in Race 2 and finished 19th. Two races ago at IMS, he made his first Firestone Fast Six appearance with the team and qualified fourth, ran as high as third but had some issues in the race and finished 20th. His highest series finish is third place at the IMS road course in 2019. He is ranked 22nd with 65 points.  

CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD, No. 45 Hy-Vee Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It’s a challenging track for sure, especially in the race. There is a lot of tire degradation. I don’t think anybody was able to match their lap times on their second run on their tires which normally you would be able to on a track that evolves a lot in a session and over the weekend, at least. At this point, I don’t think we’ve got the best package so we need to investigate that. We struggle in some areas and need to sort that out for Practice 2 and get the Hy-Vee car further up there.”

  • FAST FACTS: Christian will make his second start in Detroit. Last year, he had worked his way up to 9th place from a 19th place start but had to pit earlier than planned to clear debris that was blocking airflow from his overheating car. The team had hoped to stay on the more durable primary tires longer in order to gain more positions but he had to compete his mandatory stint on the alternate tires on the next one before returning to the preferred primary tires for the final one and finished 14th. After starting from pole at the previous road course race at Indianapolis and finishing fourth, he is looking forward to returning to a street course to continue the trajectory that saw him finish sixth on the road course in Barber and fourth at the GMR Grand Prix…. He is the ranked 11th in the point standings with 122.

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT DETROIT: The 2023 event will mark the 23rd year for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) to compete in Detroit after 22 years of competition at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park. It is the team’s 31st race here.  The team’s highest start of pole came in 2017 with Graham Rahal earning his first pole since 2009 in Race 1Bobby and Graham Rahal have earned a combined total of three wins for the team here. Bobby won the inaugural race on Belle Isle in 1992 and Graham is the only driver to have won both races on the same weekend, which he did in 2017. In total, the team has earned eight podiums (2nd – G. Rahal 2014, Jakes 2013 & Max Papis 2000), (3rd – G. Rahal 2015, Takuma Sato 2019) 12 top-five finishes and 24 top-10’s here (chart available).

NEXT UP:  Qualifying will take place tomorrow from 1:20-2:50 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on Peacock Premium and also on the INDYCAR Radio Network and (timing & scoring + live analysis). The Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit will be televised live on NBC beginning at 3:00 PM ET Sunday, June 4.