With six entries this past weekend, HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing brought half of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires field to the Streets of Nashville for the inaugural Indy Lights Music City Grand Prix. Returning with the team were full-time drivers Linus Lundqvist, Benjamin Pedersen, Danial Frost and Christian Bogle who were joined by Kyffin Simpson in his second weekend with the team and James Roe in his team debut. On a new course to the series, HMD Motorsports and all six drivers experienced highs and lows over the three-day festival weekend.
Off to a dominant start, Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports driver Benjamin Pedersen led the field in both practice sessions on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Joining Pedersen in the top-five of both sessions were Danial Frost and Linus Lundqvist. After a late switch to HMD, James Roe finished eighth in his first on-track session with the team – his best practice result in the Indy Lights series.
On Saturday, with storms in the distance, the Indy Lights field of twelve drivers were preparing for qualifying. However, as lightning in the area lingered, qualifying for the series was eventually canceled and the grid for Sunday’s race was set by car entrant points. While the decision gave Championship leader Linus Lundqvist the pole position, Benjamin Pedersen and Danial Frost were set to start sixth and seventh – an unfortunate starting position after being fast all weekend. Driving the #11 HMD w/ DCR entry, James Roe was lined up in ninth followed by Christian Bogle in eleventh and Kyffin Simpson in twelfth.
With five of the HMD Motorsports drivers starting in the back half of the field, the team was faced with the challenge of fighting their way forward in Sunday morning’s race. As the field took the green flag, Linus Lundqvist held his lead while Pedersen moved up to fifth. Two laps later, after closely trailing Jacob Able, Frost made his move around the Abel Motorsports driver and took over the seventh position and set his sight on the next driver ahead. Meanwhile, Linus Lundqvist was repeatedly chased down, but he kept his focus ahead to maintain the lead. With the first ten laps complete, Lundqvist continued to set the fastest laps in the field.
Over the next ten laps, the positions remained unchanged for HMD Motorsports while the drivers continued to look for openings to move up through the field. On lap 19, Roe was running in tenth when he suffered a mechanical failure and lost power – forcing him to retire in the pits. With eleven laps remaining in the 35-lap race, while Lundqvist continued to extend his lead to over 6.5-seconds, Pedersen and Frost were engaged in a four-way battle for fifth as the drivers closely trailed each other ready to make a pass.
The final ten laps on the Indy Lights race quickly switched up the positions throughout the field. As Benjamin Pedersen attempted to hold off a pass from Christian Rasmussen, he locked up his rear wheels and was unable to complete the turn and ended up in the tire barriers. Pedersen was able to continue but lost three positions and moved into eighth while Danial Frost moved up into sixth. With two laps remaining, Frost was looking to the inside of Abel to make a pass, but the two drivers made contact. With right-front suspension damage, Frost was able to limp his was around the course but finished the race in tenth.
Both Christian Bogle and Kyffin Simpson – who started the race in eleventh and twelfth – stayed out of trouble in the chaotic race, quietly moving forward. Both drivers were the most improved in the race each gaining four positions to finish in seventh and eighth.
With Linus Lundqvist’s dominating win, he now is up to a 95-point lead in the championship after claiming five wins and two additional podiums.
Indy Lights and HMD Motorsports will next hit the track this Friday at World Wide Technology Raceway for a series test in preparation for the oval event in two weeks, August 19-20.
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Photo Credit: RTD Media