Linus Lundqvist moved one step closer to his first Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship Saturday when he was awarded the pole for the Indy Lights Music City Grand Prix, as lightning-laden thunderstorms that rolled through downtown Nashville forced the cancellation of qualifying.
The starting field was set by entrant points, per the series rulebook. Swedish driver Lundqvist leads the championship standings by 77 points over Hunter McElrea with four races remaining, with an identical gap in the entrant points with his No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry. Lundqvist will start from the pole for the sixth time this season.
“I’m a little bit sad that qualifying got canceled,” Lundqvist said. “I think this place around a qualifying session would have been awesome. I think it would have been a good fight between us, but we’ll take starting on pole for the race. I’m definitely taking advantage of that aspect.”
Live coverage of Indy Lights’ debut race on the 11-turn, 2.1-mile temporary street circuit starts at 1 p.m. ET Sunday on Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network. The race will be 35 laps or 55 minutes, whichever comes first.
McElrea, winner of the last two Lights races, will start second in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport car.
Row two will consist of Andretti Autosport teammates Sting Ray Robb and Matthew Brabham, starting third and fourth, respectively, in the No. 2 Sekady car and the No. 83 Andretti Autosport entry.
Perhaps the driver most dismayed to see qualifying canceled was Benjamin Pedersen. The Dane will start sixth despite leading practice Friday and this morning in his No. 24 Global Racing Group with HMD car.
Pedersen’s best lap Saturday was 1m21.082s. That was quicker than his practice-topping time of 1m21.8473s on Friday afternoon.
“This whole week has been a really great week so far,” Pedersen said. “The car is on rails. This place is super cool. Pretty disappointed about qualifying being canceled because I really feel we had a good shot at fighting for pole, but that’s how it is. We’ve had some great races this year in terms of moving forward positions, so I’m going to be super aggressive. I have nothing to lose.”
Lundqvist was fourth quickest in both practice sessions.
“We’ll see what tomorrow can bring,” Lundqvist said. “The weather looks a little bit dodgy. It might be wet. That will make things interesting, for sure.”