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Road America's IndyCar weekend has been wild so far. What can we expect in Sunday's race?

ELKHART LAKE – Practice on opening day of the IndyCar XPEL Grand Prix at Road America ran under clear and windy conditions Friday.

Numerous drivers slid or spun on a surface that had far less grip than a year ago after a repave.

Practice Saturday morning was held in continuous rain around the rolling, 4.014-mile track.

Two-time and defending winner Alex Palou was among those to go off while searching for traction.

Then qualifying started in drizzle.

A handful of cars came back splattered in mud. By the time it was done, the remaining drivers had ditched their rain tires and were tiptoeing on a narrow line of dry-ish asphalt. Four escaped unscathed. One crashed hard. And one earned his first pole position in the series.

So … what does this all mean for the XPEL Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon?

Linus Lundqvist celebrates after winning his first NTT IndyCar Series pole in qualifying Saturday at Road America. The green flag for the XPEL Grand Prix is schedule for 2:38 p.m. Sunday.
Linus Lundqvist celebrates after winning his first NTT IndyCar Series pole in qualifying Saturday at Road America. The green flag for the XPEL Grand Prix is schedule for 2:38 p.m. Sunday.

More: IndyCar Series race at Elkhart Lake starting grid; Josef Newgarden crashes

Ganassi Honda driver Linus Lundqvist will start the XPEL Grand Prix on the pole

“I don't think I’ve been off track yet,” said Linus Lundqvuist, the 25-year-old Swedish driver who ended up on top. “So I can’t really speak for the other ones. I’m going to try to keep it that way tomorrow.

“You’ve seen people go off. I think obviously in the wet it’s super tricky to stay on track, especially now towards the end where you just have one dry line.

“But even yesterday in the dry, people were going off. I think around this place, you usually don’t run that much downforce, which makes it a little bit tricky in the high-speed braking zones. It’s so easy to snatch a front right or front left, off you go. That’s going to be something we don’t want to do tomorrow.”

More: Different paths lead IndyCar and IMSA to big weekends at Elkhart Lake's Road America

Who is Linus Lundqvist?

Lundqvist, 25, won the 2022 Indy Lights championship, made his IndyCar Series debut last season with three races for Meyer Shank Racing and moved to Chip Ganassi Racing this season. He earned his first podium four races ago at Barber Motorsports Park, his only top-10 finish in 10 IndyCar starts.

Lundqvist came up through British F3, GP3 and the Euroformula Open Championship before landing in Formula Regional Americas and subsequently Indy Lights for two years.

His lap of 1 minute 45.1519 seconds edged two-time fellow Honda driver Colton Herta by 0.1349 of a second.

“In the wet it feels like every other corner you might be going off,” Lundqvist said. “Even now towards the end, because you went in a little bit blind, if it’s completely dry, how should I approach the corner? There were a couple times I approached it as a fully dry corner. Came to the apex, realized there was a little bit of moisture still. I had a couple moments mid corner on that final lap. I did well enough to keep it out of the really wet parts.”

The ‘Fast Six’ had two cars each from Ganassi, Andretti and Penske

Row 2 will have two more Hondas with Lundqvist’s teammate Marcus Armstrong and Herta’s teammate Kyle Kirkwood.

Two Team Penske Chevrolet drivers advanced to “Fast Six” qualifying, but Josef Newgarden destroyed his car with a spin and hard crash in the Kink on his final lap and Will Power spun in Turn 12.

Newgarden, a two-time Road America winner and two-time series champion, was seen and released by the IndyCar medical team.

With no times in the Fast Six, the two will line up based on their position from the previous session, leaving Power fifth and Newgarden sixth.

More: From celebration to excruciating stress, Will Power has experienced more at Road America than most

When does Sunday’s Road America IndyCar race start?

The green flag for the 55-lap XPEL Grand Prix is scheduled for 2:38 p.m.

Two-time and defending winner Alex Palou qualified seventh.

Colton Herta is ready for any conditions Sunday at Road America

Herta won his first pole at Road America in 2019 and started first last year.

Asked about expectations for Sunday, Herta said:

“I have no clue. I haven’t seen the weather yet. I know either way, we’ve been pretty fast in both. So I’m not too worried about whatever direction it takes us.”

The forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and high of 69 degrees, although the forecast for Saturday looked better than the conditions were for most of the day.

More: Road America is front of mind, but IndyCar teams also are preparing for Tuesday’s important visit to the Milwaukee Mile

Jamie Chadwick wins her first Indy NXT pole

Andretti Global driver Jamie Chadwick, who won the Formula W Series title in 2019, became the third woman to win a pole position in Indy NXT, the top rung of the development ladder. She followed Sarah McCune in 2005 at Chicagoland Speedway and Pippa Mann who won three in 2010.

Chadwick’s lap of 1:51.0333, on what was by then a completely dry track, edged teammate Louis Foster (1:51.0541).

Oconomowoc native Yuven Sundaramoorthy qualified 11th in the field of 21.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Linus Lundqvist leads difficult IndyCar qualifying at Road America