Christian Lundgaard in the No.45 Hy-Vee Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda says that he went for it in qualifying but it didn’t work.
Lundgaard will start the final race of the year, the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway from third.
Lundgaard set a qualifying time of 01:06.4610s and speaking following the action he said:
It’s frustrating [to miss out on pole]. It hurts to see that my optimal lap would’ve been good enough for pole without a small mistake at the corkscrew. It’s tough for us, our car has been fast all weekend. I wanted to get the #45 Hy-Vee Honda on the pole so that we could finish the season with the most poles [in the series, this would have been a series-leading third pole of the year for Lundgaard]. I just pushed too hard. I saw on the dash that I was quick enough to get the pole. I went for it, but it didn’t work.”
Juri Vips in the No.30 MiJack Honda qualified in seventh place but must serve a six place grid penalty following an engine change and speaking following the action he said:
I knew it was going to be easier coming into this weekend (than Portland). I didn’t race anything all year so it was going to be a steep learning curve in Portland. But I think we managed that well and I got in the car in Laguna and it was pretty comfortable. It’s just a shame to miss out (transferring to Round 3) by such a small margin. I felt like the lap was pretty good. I made one small mistake but I think what happened to us most was Grosjean backed off (ahead) and impeded my first lap. So, then I started my push lap pretty close to him. I think that’s why we missed out because all of the RLL cars have been really quick this whole weekend so far so I’m happy to at least see Christian up there. It’s super tough, it’s super physical and the grip is awesome.”
Graham Rahal in the No.15 IPacket Honda qualified 13th but starts the race from 11th due to grid penalties ahead of him and speaking following the action he said:
On my best lap, Sting Ray went off right in front of me in Turn 3 and brought a ton of dirt back on so you couldn’t attack the corner exit with power down. We lost just over one-tenth in that sector, which we’ve been strong in all weekend, so I’m really frustrated. Unfortunately, we got stuck behind him and that’s the way the cards fall sometimes but it certainly hurt us. I’ve had a little harder time getting rotation than my teammates this weekend. In Turn 2, the car just didn’t turn at all and lost a tenth-and-a-half (of a second) there. The combination of those two corners really killed us today. Hopefully we’ll have a good day in the iPacket machine tomorrow. It’s going to be a tough race physically for sure. It will be the hardest race of the year for sure and it’s not even hot outside. I feel like our car is strong but I just knew we would have to be flawless. This wasn’t like Portland or the Indy GP where I felt super confident. I knew that today we were on the border and unfortunately, I think Newgarden beat us by a few hundredths (of a second) and that’s the way life goes. Our (qualifying) group was absolutely stacked bottom to top. We’re going to have to battle hard tomorrow.”