Lundgaard, Rahal and Harvey to Start 7th, 14th and 24th in the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Sonsio Group Grand Prix at Road America
NTT INDYCAR SERIES – Round 8 of 17
PRACTICE NOTES / QUOTES – Saturday, June 17, 2023


1)         Colton Herta                     1:40.1945 / 144.223 mph    (Group 1, Round 3)
7)         Christian Lundgaard       1:41.0480 / 143.005 mph    (Group 2, Round 2)
14)       Graham Rahal                  1:41.5121 / 142.352 mph    (Group 2, Round 1)
24)       Jack Harvey                      1:41.9329 / 141.764 mph    (Group 2, Round 1)

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We’ll start 14th after being seventh in our group and missing the transfer to Round 2. Unfortunately Group 2 was absolutely stacked, crazy stacked with a few Ganassi cars, the three of us, a couple of Penske’s and all of the McLaren’s so we knew it was going to take perfection to advance. We were just too imbalanced unfortunately but it is what it is.

“It’s so fast at most of the corners now that it’s tiny little details that will make a massive time difference on track. We just have to fine-tune a little bit more. The carousel is very interesting. If you’re 6-8 inches to the left, you’re gone. So, it’s a skating rink offline for sure. But I’m just going to say I think Road America, that whoever got the paving job here did an unbelievable job. It is so smooth. I think it’s the smoothest place I’ve ever driven in my entire career. It’s just going to get better. Next year is more cars, and more track days, and the more everything runs here it’s going to get silkier. Beautiful, beautiful place. We’ll put our heads down and focus on tomorrow.”

FAST FACTS: The Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America will be Graham Rahal’s 10th Champ or Indy car race here and 14th overall. In nine Indy car races here, his highlights include two third place finishes (2007, 2016), a fourth place (2019), sixth (2018) and two eighth places (2017, 2022). Last year, he started 22nd and utilized the third caution to pit early which later helped him run as high as second and gain valuable track position. He was running seventh in the final restart with three laps to go and lost a spot to McLaughlin and took the checkered flag in eighth place. A full list of results is 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… He is in 18th place in series point standings with a total of 99.

JACK HARVEY, 30 Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It’s just confusing really. Yesterday, we put on reds and just got no grip, which is the same today. It’s so weird. Don’t really understand what’s going on when we put the reds on. It felt like I was on used black’s out there and it’s just not very fast on the reds unfortunately.”

FAST FACTS: Will be his sixth race here. In three of his five races at Road America, Harvey has started 3rd (2021), 2nd (2020 Race 1) and 9th (2020 Race 2). Last year, he started 20th and earned his highest career finish here of 13th after utilizing a good pace while stretching his fuel and quick stops. After earning his best start since joining the team of fourth place in the previous road course race at IMS, he is optimistic of a competitive weekend here. His highest series finish is third place at the IMS road course in 2019. He is ranked 23rd with 78 points.  

CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD, No. 45 Vivid Clear Rx Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We got through Q1. I wouldn’t say that was a surprise, we were second in the group. We were actually on used blacks which I think came as a surprise for a few people but the set that we used at the end of P2 we didn’t get to do a proper push lap and as a team we figured that the peak for us on the blacks came later on the tires than the first couple of laps so we decided to go down that route. It turned out beneficial for us and then we knew that it will take time for the tires to come in which is why we did a few extra laps on the sticker set in Q2. We were looking pretty good but I don’t think there was much more time to extract from the position and the balance that we had. We put on some tires that didn’t really work out for us. It’s a little disappointing being in seventh to be honest, feeling that there was more pace in it. I’m just glad for the team that we bounced back from Detroit and turned in this kind of performance. I think we’re all generally slightly happier. We’re moving in the right direction.”

FAST FACTS: This is Lundgaard’s second race here. After winning his first pole in the previous road course race at IMS in May, Lundgaard is looking forward to returning to a road course. In his debut at the track last year, he started 13th, conserved his fuel while maintaining a strong pace and cycled into the lead for his second of three stops on Lap 30 of 55 and went on to take the checkered flag in 10th place. On Saturday, he was a mere 0.01 from progressing to Group 2 and ended up seventh in his qualifying round.  His best series finish is second place at the IMS road course in July 2022… He is ranked 13th in the point standings with 136.

NEXT UP:  The pre-race warm-up will take place from 9:15-9:45 a.m. CT tomorrow and Sunday’s 55-lap Sonsio Grand Prix of Road America will take the Green Flag at 12:30 p.m. CT. Coverage will begin on USA Network at 1 p.m. ET.