Lundgaard, Honda Claim Pole at Toronto

  • Christian Lundgaard scores career second NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole today at the Honda Indy Toronto
  • Marcus Ericsson to roll off from second row for Honda and Chip Ganassi Racing
  • Honda’s ninth pole from 10 races in 2023

For the second time this season, and the second time in his young NTT INDYCAR SERIES career, Christian Lundgaard will start from the pole position aboard his #45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda in Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto.

It was a difficult qualifying session today on streets of the Canadian National Exhibition grounds, with rain beginning to fall in group one, round one of knockout qualifying, with the precipitation continuing through group two and the second qualifying round.  The rain finally ended before final qualifying, with a dry line forming just enough for the Firestone Fast Six to set their best times on dry tires in the final moments of the six-minute session.

Also making it through to the Fast Six for Honda was Marcus Ericsson for Chip Ganassi Racing, who will roll off P4 in Sunday’s 85-lap contest.

Other Honda cars starting in the top 10 tomorrow include Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Marcus Armstrong, seventh and tenth, and Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood and Romain Grosjean, eighth and ninth.

In a surprise from round one, championship leader Alex Palou failed to advance and will roll off P15 for tomorrow’s race.

Honda Indy Toronto Honda Qualifying Results

  •   1st Christian Lundgaard            Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
  •   4th Marcus Ericsson                 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  •   7th Scott Dixon                         Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  •   8th Kyle Kirkwood                    Andretti Autosport Honda
  •   9th Romain Grosjean                Andretti Autosport Honda
  • 10th Marcus Armstrong-R           Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  • 13th Helio Castroneves              Meyer Shank Racing Honda
  • 14th Colton Herta                       Andretti Autosport Honda
  • 15th Alex Palou                          Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  • 17th David Malukas                    Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Honda
  • 19th Jack Harvey                       Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
  • 20th Tom Blomqvist-R                Meyer Shank Racing Honda
  • 22nd Devlin DeFrancesco           Andretti Autosport Honda
  • 23rd Sting Ray Robb-R               Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda
  • 27th Graham Rahal                    Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda

R – Rookie

Christian Lundgaard (#45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda) pole qualifier, second career INDYCAR pole, second pole of 2023: “I wasn’t sure we were going to advance [into final qualifying], but then we put on a new set of [rain tires] and made it through on that final lap.  Then, in Fast Six, we did one lap on rains and my race engineer made the decision to go to sticker alternate tires, rather than the used ‘greens’ we had planned. I think that was the right decision, so the team really won the pole for us today. We just nailed the strategy throughout qualifying.  I don’t think I made it happen today, they did.”

Marcus Ericsson (#8 Chip Ganassi Honda) qualified fourth: “It was a hectic session with difficult conditions.  The Huski Ice Spritz Honda was really good out there in all the changeable conditions.  In the end, I was a bit disappointed to miss out on pole. I thought we were looking pretty good there for a while, but we got some traffic in the Fast Six which held us up a bit.  P4 is a good result, and we can definitely go and fight for a victory from there tomorrow.”

Tom Blomqvist (#60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda) qualified 20th in first INDYCAR race, substituting for Simon Pagenaud: “I’m not sure they could’ve thrown anything else at us this weekend.  The rain started coming down just before our first-round qualifying – trying to find my way with the car in those conditions… I mean, I normally like the wet, but obviously 10 minutes [of qualifying] isn’t a whole lot of time to get used to it. Just trying to find the limits of the car was obviously not optimal.  But we’re not last!  Anyway, that’s the way the cookie crumbles and lets see what tomorrow brings.”

Fast Facts

  • When he takes the green flag on Sunday, Graham Rahal will claim the record for most Honda-powered INDYCAR starts by a driver.  The Honda Indy Toronto will be Rahal’s 252nd INDYCAR start with Honda, breaking a tie with Tony Kanaan. Rahal made his first start as a Honda driver and won at Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in April, 2008.
  • Honda comes to Toronto with a 66-point advantage (759-693) over rival Chevrolet. Honda is seeking its fifth NTT INDYCAR SERIES Manufacturers’ Championship in the last six years.
  • Honda drivers come to Toronto ranked first, second and fourth in the INDYCAR Drivers’ Championship points standings.  Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou leads the title fight with 377 points; while teammate and six-time series champion Scott Dixon is second with 267 points.  Marcus Ericsson, 2022 Indianapolis 500 winner is fourth in his Chip Ganassi Honda with 255 points.

Where to Watch
Live NBC Peacock race coverage of the race from Toronto begin at 1:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 16.  Additional coverage can be found on the INDYCAR Radio Network and on Sirius/XM satellite radio.

In Canada the race will be broadcast live on TSN4/5. Additional coverage can be found on, the TSN app and TSN+.

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