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Lundqvist explains unique strategy for maiden IndyCar podium at Barber

Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Linus Lundqvist soared to the first podium of his IndyCar Series career on Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park.

Linus Lundqvist, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

After starting 19th, Lundqvist was put into a unique three-stop strategy that began on lap 7, switching off from the harder primary tyre and running on the softer alternates for the remainder of the 90-lap race.

Through the strategy and timing of cautions, the 25-year-old Swede was able to cycle up to the lead for four laps, showcasing enough pace and poise to hold polesitter – and eventual race winner – Scott McLaughlin at bay.

In the end, Lundqvist claimed the third-place finish in just his sixth start in the series.

“I'm extremely happy with the podium,” Lundqvist said. “It's been a little bit rough for me, the first couple of races and even struggled a little bit this weekend.

“But the team did an amazing job. I basically just listened to whatever they told me to do. They said be patient here and you'll get your award at the end. We definitely did.”

Linus Lundqvist, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda celebrates on the podium

Linus Lundqvist, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda celebrates on the podium

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

The quirky strategy allowed Lundqvist the chance to attack at the end rather than be put into a conservative situation to save fuel, which allowed him to power past reigning champion team-mate Alex Palou in the final stint.

“I think for the first time ever I was not on the save fuel strategy,” said Lundqvist, the 2022 Indy NXT champion.

“I was not the one being passed, which was nice. Obviously, we had a bit of everything in that race for us. We started obviously quite far back, in 19th. In the beginning it was just about basically saving fuel as much as we can, see what we can do later in the race.

“The team kept telling me to hit your number, you'll reap the reward at the end. That definitely happened.

“After that second to last yellow, I think it was [Santino] Ferrucci ahead, then me. When he pitted, we had four or five laps [in the lead] that we went hard and tried to stretch the field a little bit. That kind of made our race.

“We came out with sticker reds, no fuel saving. Came out with a bunch of guys that had 25 laps on their tyres, a bunch of fuel saving to do.

“That was a fun stint for me. When the guys came on the radio said I was third, I couldn't believe it. At the same time, I was passing people like Palou. They're usually high up, we can't be doing too bad.”

Linus Lundqvist, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Linus Lundqvist, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

While Lundqvist was able to march up to third, a late caution set up a restart with three laps to go, putting him right on the rear wing of Will Power’s #12 Team Penske Chevrolet in the battle for second.

Once the restart commenced, though, Lundqvist had nothing more left to move forward.

“For half a second, I thought I could give Will a run for his money there into Turn 5,” Lundqvist said. “But not really.

“I think these guys [pointing to Team Penske's drivers] were obviously the pace of the field today. I was able to hold off fairly easily from Palou. I think he still had some fuel saving or old tyres.

“When the yellow came out, I wasn't too happy. I was happier with the gap that we had.”

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