Linus Lundqvist Could Clinch Indy Lights Title At Portland
Updated: Feb 28
Linus Lundqvist has one hand on the Indy Lights championship but needs to have an uneventful race at Portland to seal the deal a week early. (Photo: Chris Owens | Penske Entertainment)
PORTLAND, Ore. - Entering the Indy Lights Grand Prix of Portland, Linus Lundqvist is one step closer to clinching the championship that’ll provide scholarship money to help the 23-year-old Swedish racing driver graduate to the NTT IndyCar Series in 2023.
Lundqvist comes to Portland International Raceway with a 108-point lead over Andretti Autosport’s Matthew Brabham. The driver of the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing Dallara currently has five wins this season compared to Brabham’s two victories.
If Lundqvist leaves Portland leading the championship by 109 points, he’ll become the 2022 Indy Lights champion, regardless of what happens in next weekend’s doubleheader season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
“Super excited to be back at Portland,” Lundqvist said. “Obviously, we raced here last year and we had some pretty good results. Hopefully, we can do a little bit better and stay on the top step of the podium this year. But we’re feeling good.
“We have a good points lead in the championship, so we’re feeling confident that we’ve done well enough to this point and just trying to continue that trajectory to the end of the year.”
Lundqvist says winning the Indy Lights title would be the biggest accomplishment of his life so far. He feels like he’s just a small step away from making his dreams come true by making it to the big leagues of open-wheel racing in North America.
Despite having a comfortable points lead, Lundqvist thinks it’s been a competitive season with his fellow competitors pushing him hard each race. Before coming to the United States to race full-time in 2020 and later becoming the Formula Regional Americas champion that same year, Lundqvist finished fifth in the 2019 Euroformula Open Championship.
He competed against notable drivers who are currently driving in FIA Formula 2 such as Liam Lawson and Marino Sato. Plus, Yuki Tsunoda, the AlphaTauri Formula 1 driver, was present in the championship that year.
According to Lundqvist, some drivers from Europe have reached out to him about the racing scene in America.
“I try to tell them to get on a plane, get over here because it’s awesome,” Lundqvist said. “I’ve loved every minute of it since Day 1 here. Without the American ladder system with the scholarship, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Jamie Chadwick is set to test an Indy Lights car for the first time after dominating the W Series. (Photo: Williams Racing)
F1 Feeder Series first reported that two-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick will test an Indy Lights car later this year with Andretti Autosport at Sebring International Raceway. Chadwick’s been trying to secure the funding to advance her racing career next year as she’s well on her way to a third W Series title, with nothing left to prove in that championship.
With Chadwick looking at the possibility of moving to America to compete in Indy Lights, Lundqvist had some advice for the Williams F1 Driver Academy member.
“Enjoy it, that would be my first one,” Lundqvist said. “I know that car (W Series Tatuus F3 T-318) is maybe not the most fun car to drive, so jumping into the Lights car is going to be great for her. Then, just take your time and be aggressive because that’s what this car likes. You really have to drive it a little bit over the edge to be fast.
“That’s a little bit uncommon because every other car that I’ve driven apart from the Lights car has been like slow is fast. But this one is way opposite, so it takes a little bit of time to get used to. But once you get the hang of it and get a lap together, it’s very, very rewarding.”
In Friday’s Indy Lights practice session at PIR, Benjamin Pedersen was quickest with a lap time of 1:04.4820. Championship leader Lundqvist posted the second fastest lap time, followed by World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway winner, Brabham, rounding out the top-three.
Tomorrow, the second Indy Lights practice will take place at 2:15 p.m. ET. Then, qualifying for Sunday’s race gets underway at 6:25 p.m. ET.
Indy Lights Grand Prix of Portland Practice 1 Results
Benjamin Pedersen led the way in Friday's Indy Lights practice session at Portland International Raceway. (Photo: James Black | Penske Entertainment)
(24) Benjamin Pedersen, 1:04.4820
(26) Linus Lundqvist, -0.0427
(83) Matthew Brabham, -0.0874
(7) Christian Bogle, -0.2160
(2) Sting Ray Robb, -0.3147
(51) Jacob Abel (R), -0.4583
(21) Kyffin Simpson (R), -0.4660
(28) Christian Rasmussen (R), -0.5642
(15) Flinn Lazier (R), -0.7053
(68) Danial Frost, -0.7437
(99) Ernie Francis Jr. (R), -0.7511
(27) Hunter McElrea (R), -0.9611