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Lundqvist still trying to “find the sweet spot” after Barber podium

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Linus Lundqvist remains reserved over his expectations for the rest of his rookie season despite his maiden IndyCar podium at Barber Motorsports Park.

Linus Lundqvist, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Penske Entertainment

Lundqvist heads into this weekend’s round on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course eighth in the standings, which was aided by a recent strategic masterpiece to go from 19th to third at Barber.

Although the outing came in only the 25-year-old Swede’s third points-paying race behind the wheel of CGR’s No. 8 Honda, he is resetting any expectations.

“I wouldn't say that my expectations have been reversed in any way, shape or form because I still realise that I have so much to learn,” said Lundqvist, the 2022 Indy NXT champion.

“I have a long way to go before I'm going to be consistently fighting for podiums week out, week in.

“But I think we definitely took a step. … It was kind of a receipt that once everything does click, we'll be able to fight for these wins and podiums, which at the end of the day this is what we're here to do.”

Lundqvist went on to add “the step” he and the team have taken.

“I'm still working through different setups for me to be 100% comfortable in,” he said.

“Right now, even if the car theoretically should be the fastest, I'm not really yet at the comfort level to drive it that way. You lose more out of the driver than you would potentially gain from the car, if you know what I mean. It's about finding that sweet spot.

“As my confidence grows in the car, what I'm asking for, they can kind of follow along and hopefully spice things up.

“It's a process. It's a process that neither me or the team want to rush through. We're not driving around at 90%, but it's still not something that we're overly stressed about. We know once everything clicks, we'll be right up there."

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet, Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, Linus Lundqvist, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda celebrateson the podium with champagne

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet, Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, Linus Lundqvist, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda celebrateson the podium with champagne

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

Lundqvist’s focus is sure to be tested this weekend with 85 laps around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn circuit, and that is mostly because it is the only race remaining before embarking on his first-ever attempt at the Indianapolis 500. 

“It's tough,” Lundqvist said.

“It's extremely hard. It's something that you've worked your whole life towards. The dream, it's to compete and obviously win the 500.

“I think just take it one step at a time. The goal right now is to try to win Indy GP and do well there. Then obviously there's a quick turnaround and the shifting starts, the focus starts to be shifted towards the 500. Obviously, we have plenty of practice sessions ahead, which is nice for me.

“Then you kind of digest it into smaller goals. The first one for me is get comfortable in traffic, then we'll see how long that takes. It might take the whole month. Might not even be comfortable after the 500, who knows. I think that's going to be the biggest thing for me, is getting used to having 30-odd cars around you.”

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