Lundgaard said on Friday that he’d be disappointed to finish 2nd on Saturday, instead he finishes 4th, what he told me aftewards

INDIANAPOLIS — Coming into race day, Saturday’s race was Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s to lose. All three cars were coming from the top 4 Rows including earning the pole. In 12 of the 13 previous races on the 2.439-mile road course, each of those 12 were won via a top 8 starter. In fact, three of the last four GMR Grand Prix’s were won from a driver coming from Row 4 (Graham Rahal).

3 of the 4 races this season were won from the fourth-place starter (Jack Harvey). The other race this season was won from the pole (Christian Lundgaard).

Unfortunately, not only did none of them reach victory lane, none of the three left with any hardware either. The best finisher was Lundgaard in fourth after leading 13 of 85 laps.

Despite saying on Friday that if he didn’t win, that he’d be disappointed, Lundgaard took a more mature approach after scoring his third career top five finish. He said that it was a relief that the race was actually over because the car was just too tough to drive on Saturday.

“Right now I’m satisfied,” he said. “It just wasn’t as quick today. There was a point of this race where I thought we weren’t going to finish at the top 10 with our balance. To end up with a top five is a win right now. And I think we need to look at the perspective of how our great performance wise and the positives to take from this weekend.”

Lundgaard started on the Firestone primary tires, just as the pole winner typically does here. It’s the safe play. With this track typically being a Firestone alternate race, he could go all out the rest of the way. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t the case for how his car was handling.

Christian Lundgaard Friday at IMS. Photo Credit: INDYCAR Media Site

“Yeah, I mean, it was strange because that way that the reds were falling off,” he continued. “So I didn’t really understand how we got to balance so so wrong. But again, it’s things we need to learn from now. Of course, that’s not one of the best things and we’re not in the past. So these are the things that we need to learn.

“I don’t think we got it right today. I don’t think that call was the setup of the car was optimal for today’s race conditions and the tires. But again, it’s great points for us. I mean, I would rather be happy, be happy to say now we finished fourth.”

Lundgaard says he gave it a little more than he had to but the balance was the culprit to what not only kept him out of victory lane, but the podium too.

“I think we struggled a lot with balance today the car was from one one run to another run. It was a different balance. So it’s very, very difficult to to just understand the car. There was a point to where I didn’t really think I was gonna make it through just on balance that the car was so difficult to drive, but it’s here we’re in the top five. So that’s the positive nature of the race.”

That’s a different cry from his teammates. Graham Rahal was punted on the opening lap and had to pit for a flat tire. He tried to make it work on the two stop strategy but fuel saving cost him a good finish. He’d wind up 10th.

Jack Harvey spun on his own accord mid race and from that point forward, was relegated to the back. He limped home a disappointing 20th.

Still, the team can hold their head high that they at least have shown flashes of speed this weekend and hope it returns on the oval configuration next week.

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