Lundqvist on verge of 2022 Indy Lights championship

A year after winning the season finale of the 2021 Indy Lights season, Linus Lundqvist comes into the 2022 final weekend with very good odds of taking this year’s title. The second year driver leads Matthew Brabham by 103 points with 2 races remaining, both at Laguna Seca on Saturday and Sunday.

A pair of 35 lap races are all that’s between Lundqvist and some shiny new hardware but I don’t honestly think it will take that long. The worst Lundqvist could do on Saturday is finish last and take home 18 points. The best Brabham can do is win the pole, win the race and lead the most laps in the process which gives him 54 points.

That would still put Lundqvist up by 67 points heading to the season finale. Again, the max you can score in a race is 54 points. Lundqvist wouldn’t even have to see the green flag to become the 36th driver to win the Lights title.

However, he’s a competitive driver and will likely try to just go out and sweep the weekend still instead.

Lundqvist has started on the front row in 10 of the 12 races run this season including 6 poles. He qualified 4th last weekend in Portland. Brabham has no front row starts this year and just 1 career pole. That likely means he’s aiming for 53 points scored on both days.

Lundqvist has 9 podiums and a top 5 finish in all 12 races run this year. He finished 2nd and 3rd respectively on this track just last season. That will make it difficult for Brabham to catch.

Still, it’s not like Brabham has had a bad season. He won the season opener on the streets of St. Pete and has raced like the veteran that he is. He had a rough patch in Barber and the two Indy road course races (7th, 10th, 9th respectively) but rebounded to finish in the top 6 the rest of the way out including a top 4 in each of the last 5 races as well as 7 of the last 8 overall.

That has propelled him from 5th to 2nd in points and in a position to be the top point scorer for Andretti Autosport this season.

Hunter McElrea is 11 points behind Brabham and has also made a nice end of season charge. He had 3 finishes of 12th or worse in the first 5 races of the year. In the last 7, he’s not finished worse than 5th including 5 podiums. That’s why he went from 7th in points to 3rd.

Another one that made a recent rebound is Benjamin Pedersen. He had a pair of runner-up finishes to begin 2022 off with including 3 second place finishes in the first 5 races run. He sat 2nd in points in Belle Isle. But in the next 5 races, he’s score no top 5’s and fall to 6th in the standings.

Things turned back around in Gateway with a front row starting spot and a 3rd place finish. Last week in Portland, he started on his first career pole and backed that up with his first career win. He finished 3rd and 5th here last year and has a chance to end 2022 on a high note before embarking on a likely NTT INDYCAR Series seat with AJ Foyt Racing in 2023.

McElrea will be back with Andretti while Brabham’s future is up to him. Lundqvist has a scholarship for his certain championship but as of now, no where to take it.

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