Sting Ray Robb on his way to pole position at Road America. (Al Steinberg Photo)
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – There’s a new Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires pole sitter in town, and it’s Sting Ray Robb who will lead the field to green Sunday in the Indy Lights Grand Prix at Road America.
Robb drove to his first career Indy Lights pole position Saturday at picturesque Road America with a blistering lap time of 1:53.9743 in the No. 2 Sekady car for Andretti Autosport. Robb’s best lap cleared the competition by more than two-tenths of a second.
His rookie teammate Hunter McElrea also will start on the front row after laying down a best lap of 1:54.1981 in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport machine.
“Pole position, that’s pretty exciting,” Robb said. “We know Road America is a tough place to win from pole. A huge shoutout to the team for this one.”
Andretti Autosport swept more than just the front row as the team’s other two drivers monopolized row two to give the organization the top four starting spots after drivers from HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing led both practice sessions before qualifying this weekend.
Last year’s Indy Pro 2000 season champion Christian Rasmussen qualified third at 1:54.2714 in the No. 28 Road to Indy/Stellrecht car, and Matthew Brabham will start fourth at 1:54.3889 in the No. 83 Andretti Autosport machine.
Robb’s run to pole position ended championship leader Linus Lundqvist’s streak of five consecutive Indy Lights pole positions dating back to the second race of the season at Barber Motorsports Park.
Lundqvist held pole for most of the session in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing car. As business picked up near the end of the 25-minute session and a majority of the field hit the 14-turn, 4.048-mile road course, Lundqvist’s top time fell.
Lundqvist attempted to take pole position back in the closing minutes, but an uncharacteristic off-track moment left him settling for sixth with a best lap of 1:54.6060. It’s his worst Indy Lights start this season. In the one other race that Lundqvist didn’t score the pole position, at St. Petersburg, he started second.
Following Lundqvist is his teammate and closest championship competitor Benjamin Pedersen, who will start seventh in the No. 24 Global Racing Group with HMD car at 1:54.7035. Pedersen is second in the championship, 84 points behind Lundqvist.
With the top two in the championship starting in the middle of the pack, Sunday’s race poses a great opportunity for rivals to close the championship gap to Lundqvist and Pedersen as the series reaches the halfway mark.
Robb is fourth in the standings, 92 points back, with Danial Frost, third in the standings, qualified fifth at 1:54.4251 in the No. 68 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing car.
While it’s Robb’s first career pole, it’s his second consecutive race starting on the front row. He started second in last week’s Indy Lights Detroit Grand Prix, which was his previous best start.
He’s also eyeing his first career Indy Lights win. His best finish is third, which he’s done four times so far this season.
“It’s just been constant improvement each week for us,” Robb said. “I’m confident in the car I got, I’m confident in the team, so we’re going to do our job and hope it all pays off.”