The championship is his. Not that he had much to worry about as Linus Lundqvist entered the 2022 season finale weekend 103 points clear of the rest of the pack. But he still had to start Saturday’s race to ensure that he’d become the 36th driver to ever win an Indy Lights title. He’d do just that.
Even though he finished 6th on Saturday, Lundqvist is the 2022 Indy Lights champion. He did so on the heels of a dominating season. 5 wins, 6 poles, 9 podiums, 13 top 5’s and 255 laps led. In 20 races prior, he had 3 wins, 3 poles, 11 podiums, 17 top 5’s, 20 top 10’s and 91 laps led.
Combined, that nets him 8 wins, 9 poles, 20 podiums, 29 top 5’s, 33 top 10’s, 346 laps led and running at the finish of 32 of the 33 races that he’s competed in.
He still has 1 more race left too.
He never left this year’s championship in doubt in taking over the lead in the points standings after his Barber win back on May 1 and he’d never look back. The Swedish driver had 4 wins in the opening 6 races run to build a massive enough lead that he’d never get caught.
While he has a scholarship now to advance to at least 3 races into the 2023 NTT INDYCAR Series season, he’s struggling with places to go to. Winning a title won’t hurt, but he’s running out of time to find something to stay here.
“I mean, the big challenge right now is just getting a seat in INDYCAR, to be honest,” Lundqvist said a couple of weeks ago prior to the Portland race. “There’s not a lot of ’em out there. We’ll see what we can do.
“Obviously the target is to be with these guys next year full-time. Hopefully we can make that happen. We’ll see. I know that the best thing I can do for myself is to continue to try to do well and wrap up a couple more wins at the end of the season and we’ll see what happens.
“I mean, I’ve had talks with literally every team on the grid since May I think. But obviously it’s so competitive out there, just to get a seat opening. We’re doing my best. We’re doing our best to put myself in one of the big cars.”
There’s not many openings. Alex Palou’s situation with Ganassi affects AMSP. That’s in the courts. It’s highly likely his teammate Benjamin Pedersen lands in the 14 seat at AJ Foyt Racing. Andretti is likely full. Penske is full. RLL is full. Does he wait for the ripple effects of the Palou situation? That’s about all he has because it’s down to an engine and funding if HMD/DCR expand to a 3rd car and a similar situation for Juncos Hollinger Racing on a 2nd seat.
Lunqvist however is at least enjoying a dominant season and proving he’s deserving of the promotion that he’s earned. He leads the series with most wins (5), poles (6) and top 5 finishes (12) through the opening 13 races to this season.
“Yeah, we’ve had a great season,” he said.