Lundqvist Gears Up for First IndyCar Oval Race, While Pagenaud Remains Benched

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The motorsport world is preparing to watch Linus Lundqvist make his IndyCar oval debut as he fills in for the former champion and Indy 500 victor, Simon Pagenaud. Pagenaud continues to be out of action with symptoms resembling a concussion, a result of his shocking crash at Mid-Ohio.

As the current title holder of the Indy NXT championship, Lundqvist is far from a newcomer to oval racing. He’s familiar with the World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis, having competed there thrice before. However, the upcoming Bommarito Automotive Group 500 marks his first time racing the 260-lap circuit around the 1.25-mile oval in an IndyCar.

Lundqvist expressed his elation at rejoining Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) in St. Louis, stating, “These past weekends in Nashville and Indy have been an exhilarating experience. The team and I have conquered challenging race formats, from Nashville’s urban track, Indy’s road course, to now St. Louis’ oval. It’s another learning curve, and I’m ready for it.”

Photo credit: Josh Tons / F1 Flow Images

Last year’s Indy Lights (now Indy NXT for 2023) pole winner, Lundqvist acknowledges that he’s facing a significant test ahead.

He shared, “I’m aware that this will be complex and demanding, but I trust my team to provide me with a car capable of achieving a strong result like we did in Indy. I’m equally thrilled to collaborate with Helio [Castroneves] as part of the team. Every driver dreams of working with him on an oval, and I plan to soak up as much as I can this weekend.”

Castroneves, a seasoned oval racer who claimed victory from the pole at Gateway in 2003 and has two third-place finishes, is equally thrilled about returning to one of his favorite tracks. Though he only has four starts on the WWTR oval, he has led for more than 50 laps in three of those races.

The four-time Indy 500 champion said, “I’m genuinely eager to hit another oval, which I undoubtedly love. We’ve had some satisfying outcomes on ovals, so let’s aim to wrap up the season’s final oval race with a positive result.”

In related news:

  • Newgarden is set to join Porsche’s IMSA team for Petit Le Mans.
  • Scott Dixon has hinted that the new IndyCar hybrid “will alter the strategy” in 2024.
  • Rahal IndyCar team makes a switch, bidding farewell to Harvey and bringing Daly on board for Gateway.

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