Lundgaard Qualifies Third for Honda at Laguna Seca

  • Young Rahal Letterman Lanigan star Christian Lundgaard qualifies third at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 
  • Honda looking for good result in final NTT INDYCAR SERIES race of 2023 amid tight Manufacturers' championship battle
  • Newly-crowned 2023 series champion Alex Palou and runner-up Scott Dixon will start sixth and fifth, respectively

Christian Lundgaard led the way for Honda in qualifying today at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and will start third in tomorrow's Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, the final NTT INDYCAR SERIES race of 2023. 

The driver of the #45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda was fast in practice, topping today's second practice session, and nearly took pole position before a small slide in the corkscrew relegated him to third.

Despite missing out on pole position, Lundgaard set a new INDYCAR track record at Laguna Seca with his lap in the "top-12" second round of qualifying—a 1:06.4610.

Honda powered three of the six drivers in the Firestone Fast Six final qualifying round, with Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon and Alex Palou lining up fifth and sixth.

The surprise of the session was newcomer Juri Vips, as the 23-year-old Estonian driver qualified seventh in only his second Indy car race aboard the #30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda. 

Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey Honda Qualifying Results

  •   3rd Christian Lundgaard           Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda   
  •   5th Scott Dixon                         Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  •   6th Alex Palou                          Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  •   7th Juri Vips-R                         Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda    
  • 10th Romain Grosjean                Andretti Autosport Honda
  • 14th Graham Rahal                    Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
  • 15th Colton Herta                       Andretti Autosport Honda
  • 16th Marcus Armstrong-R           Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  • 18th Kyle Kirkwood                    Andretti Autosport Honda
  • 19th Marcus Ericsson                 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  • 21st Tom Blomqvist-R                Meyer Shank Racing Honda
  • 22nd David Malukas                   Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Honda
  • 24th Sting Ray Robb-R               Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda
  • 26th Devlin DeFrancesco            Andretti Autosport Honda
  • 27th  Helio Castroneves             Meyer Shank Racing Honda

R – Rookie

Christian Lundgaard (#45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda) qualified third: "It's frustrating [to miss out on pole].  It hurts to see that my optimal lap would've been good enough for pole without a small mistake at the corkscrew. It's tough for us, our car has been fast all weekend. I wanted to get the #45 Hy-Vee Honda on the pole so that we could finish the season with the most poles [in the series, this would have been a series-leading third pole of the year for Lundgaard]. I just pushed too hard.  I saw on the dash that I was quick enough to get the pole.  I went for it, but it didn't work."

Scott Dixon (#9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) qualified fifth: "I think it would've been nice to try the [alternate compound] red tires in that last round, just to see what kind of speed they may have had in them.  We seemed to be especially good on all of our second runs in qualifying.  But I think our car is fast.  I made a couple of small mistakes here and there, but we're in the right window for the race tomorrow."

Fast Facts

  • After winning eight of the 10 most recent 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES events, Honda continues to lead the Manufacturers' Championship standings, with 11 victories and 11 poles this season.
  • Honda comes to tomorrow's season finale race with a 15-point Manufacturers' Championship advantage (1,362-1,347) over rival Chevrolet. Honda is seeking its fifth NTT INDYCAR SERIES Manufacturers' Championship in the last six years.

Where to Watch
Television coverage of Sunday's season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT on NBC.  Complete, flag-to-flag race coverage also will be available on NBC Peacock, the INDYCAR Radio Network, and SiriusXM INDYCAR Nation (Channel 160).

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