Linus Lundqvist showed why he is the class of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires field this season, leading all 35 laps from pole Sunday to win the Indy Lights Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville.
Lundqvist earned his series-leading fifth victory this season in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry, beating second place Sting Ray Robb to the checkered flag by 7.2221s in the caution-free race. Lundqvist expanded his series lead to a commanding 95 points with just four races remaining this season.
The Swedish driver was fourth quickest in both practice sessions this weekend but started from pole when the field was set by entrant points after qualifying was canceled Saturday due to thunderstorms.
“So excited and so, so happy,” Lundqvist said. “We showed that we had the pace on street courses. In practice, I just had to dial myself in a little bit. Obviously, we got maybe a little bit lucky with qualifying, but I think we showed in the race that we had the pace to win.”
Andretti Autosport teammates Robb and Hunter McElrea finished second and third, respectively. Robb passed McElrea on lap 32 for second, the highlight of a stirring duel between the duo for many laps on the 11-turn, 2.1-mile temporary street circuit that includes two trips per lap over the Cumberland River via the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge.
Matthew Brabham finished fourth in the No. 83 Andretti Autosport car, with Christian Rasmussen (No. 28 Road to Indy/Stellrecht entry) rounding out Andretti Autosport’s filling of spots P2-P5.
McElrea stayed close to the leader for the first six laps around the tricky, bumpy circuit, nearly hitting the rear of Lundqvist’s car in Turn 4, exiting the bridge, on lap 5 as he tried to look for an opening.
Lundqvist gradually pulled away, growing his lead to 0.9513s on lap 10 and 6.3779s by lap 25.
Robb looked for a way past many times over the closing half of the race. He finally made the decisive pass on lap 32 as both drivers exited the bridge and headed toward Turn 9. The No. 2 Sekady car and McElrea’s No. 27 made contact, but Robb quickly gathered himself and dove under McElrea for second place.
McElrea’s car appeared damaged from the contact, and Robb drove away to beat his teammate to the finish by 3.1723s.
While Lundqvist holds a lead of nearly two races’ worth of points over second-place, McElrea leads third-place Robb by just eight points, with teammate Matthew Brabham is just 12 points further back in fourth.
The next Indy Lights race is the second and final oval race of the season, Saturday, Aug. 20 at World Wide Technology Raceway. Live coverage starts at 4:15 p.m. ET on Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network.