SALINAS, Calif — It was a day of firsts for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship Saturday, as Linus Lundqvist clinched his first season championship and Sting Ray Robb cruised to his first career Indy Lights victory.
Lundqvist, 23, from Stockholm, Sweden, finished sixth in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry to win the drivers’ championship with one race to go. Lundqvist, who entered the race with a 103-point lead over Matthew Brabham, only needed to start this 35-lap race to seal the first drivers’ title for HMD Motorsports.
SEE: Race Results
“I can’t really put it into words, to be honest,” Lundqvist said. “So many emotions, not just from this year but from everything leading up to this moment.
“The biggest win of my career, my life. Super important. Hopefully we can make something happen for the future, but for right now, I’m just enjoying this.”
Robb, 21, from Payette, Idaho, earned his first career victory after starting from the pole in his 33rd career Indy Lights start. His No. 2 Sekady car fielded by Andretti Autosport crossed the finish line 11.0674 seconds ahead of the No. 28 Road to Indy/Stellrecht car driven by teammate and rookie Christian Rasmussen. Fellow rookie Hunter McElrea finished third in the No. 27 car to complete a podium sweep by Andretti Autosport for the third time this season.
“That was pretty stellar,” Robb said. “I don’t know how much better that could be. I can’t thank God enough. This was an amazing day. The team is just awesome.”
Robb left no doubt about his dominance of this race. He held off teammate Rasmussen in Turn 1, and steadily drove away to lead all 35 laps. Robb turned the quickest lap of the race, and his margin of victory was the largest of the season by nearly four seconds.
“I was just having fun out there,” Robb said. “I had the car that I could just stay out front and keep consistent. I had 130 seconds of push-to-pass at the end. They gave me a great car.”
Robb jumped from fourth to second in the standings, 100 points behind champion Lundqvist, with the victory.
Rookie Jacob Abel finished fourth in the No. 51 Abel Speedwagon entry, tying his career best set last weekend in Portland. Benjamin Pedersen, who earned his first career Lights victory in Portland, rounded out the top five in the No. 24 Global Racing Group with HMD car.
The second race of the doubleheader and final race of the season starts at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, with live coverage on Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network.