Marcus Ericsson. (Penske Entertainment/James Black)

Ericsson Tops Warmup From Indy

INDIANAPOLIS – Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing was the fastest driver in Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix Warmup at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The defending winner of the Indianapolis 500 raced around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn IMS road course at 1:10.3872 for a speed of 124.744 miles per hour in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda.

Alexander Rossi of Arrow McLaren was second at 1:10.4153 (124.694 mph) in the No. 7 Chevrolet. Defending GMR Grand Prix winner Colton Herta was third at 1:10.6657 (124.253 mph) in the No. 27 Gainbridge Honda. Kyle Kirkwood of Andretti Autosport was fourth in the No. 27 AutoNation Honda at 1:10.7329 (124.135 mph) with 2020 IMS road course winner Scott Dixon rounding out the top five at 1:10.8139 (123.893 mph) in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda.

Christian Lundgaard starts on the pole after winning his first career Verizon P1 Award on Friday. He was 13th fastest in the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at 1:11.1252 (123.450 mph).

“I can finally call this home, I think,” Lundgaard said of his pole. “It feels amazing. Waking up Friday morning, I knew we were going to have a chance to get into the Fast Six because we’ve done that pretty much every time we’ve been here, at least with me, and I hoped it was going to happen, and now I can sit here and it’s a reality, which is pretty cool.

“I think it shows the progress that we’re on. It’s taken a little longer than we would have liked, but now we’ve got to finish it off tomorrow, but I’m just super happy for the team.

“My podium here last year, it was a big relief for me and the team. I knew my ability to be able to finish on the podium. I know what I’m capable of. But to deliver it to the team is what meant the most to me, and this, too. Everyone works so hard. We built a new facility. It hasn’t paid off until now, so we’re going to keep digging deep.”

Lundgaard has shown a tremendous knack for the IMS road course. He qualified fourth for his first ever IndyCar Series race in 2021 and that led to a full-time ride in 2022.

What is it about the 2.439-mile, 14-turn course that fits his driving style so well?

“I wish I could tell you, man,” Lundgaard said. “I want to know myself. This place just is amazing. What whatever way you drive around, if it’s one or the other, it’s amazing. I think the atmosphere around this place just brings us drivers alive.

“I don’t think it’s a secret that this track fits the European drivers. I’m sitting next to a Swede. So we’re up here. Jack Harvey (from England) is in here, Pato O’Ward (from Mexico) is in here.

“It is a very sort of European style track, so I think it just fits us pretty well.”

The NBC telecast begins at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time with the race beginning 3:42 mph ET.