Nashville IndyCar: Rookie Lundgaard stuns with fastest time in FP1

Less than a week after scoring his best IndyCar result to date, Christian Lundgaard put Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda on top in opening practice at Nashville for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.

Listen to this article

A podium finish for Lundgaard at last week’s race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course appears to have unlocked his confidence and as he lapped the bumpy 2.1-mile street course in Nashville 1min15.9695sec to head the field by over two-tenths.

With an extra set of primaries to use, it was predominantly the rookies who hit the 2.1-mile course in the opening 15 minutes, with David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD-Honda setting a 1min18.1595sec, an average speed of 96.725mph. He was just ahead of Andretti Autosport-Honda’s Devlin De Francesco, and Rookie of the Year points leader Christian Lundgaard of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda.

Then Josef Newgarden was first of the race-winners to show his hand, with a 1min18.0728sec in the Team Penske-Chevrolet.

Meyer Shank Racing’s Helio Castroneves, who is to suffer a six-place grid penalty on Sunday, then suffered misfire in his new Honda and had to pit.

At this time Newgarden started to stretch his advantage with a 1min17.3855sec lap, with Romain Grosjean (Andretti) slotting into second but 0.61sec in arrears. Then out came the red flag for Dalton Kellett sliding into the Turn 1 run-off, and not having enough room to spin the AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet back around.

Scott McLaughlin just had time to slot into second – still half a second off Newgarden – before Rinus VeeKay had a similar issue in Turn 1 and the newly re-signed Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet driver needed rescuing.

Following the green flag, Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet, and Penske’s championship leader Will Power moved up to second and third, 0.045 and 0.26sec respectively off Newgarden’s benchmark, while last year’s polesitter Colton Herta slotted into fifth. Then Newgarden shaved his best time down to a 1min17.2591sec (97.853mph), and last year’s Nashville runner-up Scott Dixon moved into third, 0.19sec behind.

Castroneves, whose engine issue had been resolved, bent a toelink against a wall under braking and had to limp back to the pits with 30mins of the session remaining.

McLaughlin then moved the game on with a 1min16.8441sec effort on primaries, 0.415sec clear of teammate Newgarden and the first 98mph lap of the weekend.

Felix Rosenqvist moved into fifth, just under 0.3sec from teammate O’Ward, and then the third red flag flew for Herta stalled in the Turn 1 runoff, complaining of clutch issues.

With the session restarting with under 20mins remaining, several drivers took on a set of the alternate Firestones – green side-walled this weekend, since the sidewall rubber is made from the guayule shrub. Using these, defending series champion Alex Palou moved his Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda into second.

This was thoroughly eclipsed by Rosenqvist, also using the ‘greens’ to deliver a 1min16.2050sec lap – a 99.206mph lap. No less impressive was rookie Lundgaard who went fourth fastest, 0.79sec behind, but using the hard primaries. Then with the alternates on, Lundgaard delivered a brilliant 1min15.9659sec to go top, 0.24sec clear of Rosenqvist, while his big rookie rival Malukas claimed third.

Alexander Rossi spent much of the session stuck in the pits, having his brakes bled, but when he emerged he took alternates and produced a 1min16.7041, sixth best.

P

Name

FTime

Diff

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Tire

Team

1

Christian Lundgaard

1:15.9659

-

25

29

99.518

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

2

Felix Rosenqvist

1:16.2050

0.2391

15

22

99.206

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

3

David Malukas

1:16.2366

0.2707

22

25

99.165

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing with HMD

4

Scott McLaughlin

1:16.5755

0.6096

20

23

98.726

Chevy

A

Team Penske

5

Josef Newgarden

1:16.6957

0.7298

24

27

98.571

Chevy

A

Team Penske

6

Alexander Rossi

1:16.7041

0.7382

12

16

98.561

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

7

Will Power

1:16.8330

0.8671

22

26

98.395

Chevy

A

Team Penske

8

Colton Herta

1:16.8435

0.8776

17

20

98.382

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport w/Curb-Agajanian

9

Alex Palou

1:16.8505

0.8846

17

24

98.373

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

10

Romain Grosjean

1:16.9479

0.9820

25

28

98.248

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

11

Marcus Ericsson

1:16.9763

1.0104

20

25

98.212

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

12

Simon Pagenaud

1:17.0123

1.0464

21

23

98.166

Honda

A

Meyer Shank Racing

13

Callum Ilott

1:17.1922

1.2263

28

31

97.937

Chevy

A

Juncos Hollinger Racing

14

Pato O'Ward

1:17.3180

1.3521

10

25

97.778

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

15

Takuma Sato

1:17.4097

1.4438

23

26

97.662

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing w/RWR

16

Scott Dixon

1:17.4430

1.4771

12

21

97.620

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

17

Kyle Kirkwood

1:17.5373

1.5714

20

21

97.501

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

18

Devlin DeFrancesco

1:17.5815

1.6156

25

29

97.446

Honda

A

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

19

Jack Harvey

1:17.6736

1.7077

20

23

97.330

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

20

Graham Rahal

1:17.7000

1.7341

12

22

97.297

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

21

Conor Daly

1:17.7633

1.7974

24

27

97.218

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

22

Rinus VeeKay

1:17.8434

1.8775

22

28

97.118

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

23

Helio Castroneves

1:18.1575

2.1916

19

21

96.728

Honda

A

Meyer Shank Racing

24

Jimmie Johnson

1:18.7645

2.7986

22

25

95.982

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

25

Simona De Silvestro

1:18.9245

2.9586

24

28

95.788

Chevy

A

Paretta Autosport

26

Dalton Kellett

1:19.3271

3.3612

22

24

95.302

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

 

shares
comments
Castroneves to suffer grid penalty in Nashville
Previous article

Castroneves to suffer grid penalty in Nashville

Next article

Rosenqvist’s McLaren future “all depends on the Palou case”

Rosenqvist’s McLaren future “all depends on the Palou case”
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021