Monday, February 6, 2023

McElrea Wins Indy Lights Race at Iowa After Lundqvist Penalty

Hunter McElrea at Iowa
Hunter McElrea scored his second consecutive victory in bizarre fashion at Iowa Speedway. Image courtesy of Karl Zemlin / Penske Entertainment

Hunter McElrea was the second car to cross the finish line, but took home the victory after a penalty was handed to Linus Lundqvist following an intense Indy Lights race at Iowa Speedway.

The No. 27 Andretti Autosport machine of McElrea started on pole and was comfortably managing the lead for the first half of the 75-lap contest. Everything was in-hand for McElrea until the caution waved on Lap 41 after James Roe crashed in Turn 2.

The incident set up a restart on Lap 50, which saw McElrea fall into the clutches of Lundqvist’s No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing machine, who rolled to the lead. McElrea ended up falling back to third as teammate Matthew Brabham also went by and in pursuit of Lundqvist.

Brabham’s No. 83 Andretti Autosport entry methodically closed on the gap to Lundqvist, closing to the rear wing until finally trying an outside pass off the exit of Turn 2 with  five laps to go. However, Lundqvist faded to the right, making slight contact with Brabham and forcing him into the wall and breaking his front wing.

Lundqvist, the championship leader, crossed the finish line first, while Brabham continued to fight through the damage before falling from second to fourth off the final corner of the last lap.

In the aftermath, Race Control penalized Lundqvist three positions for avoidable contact, dropping him to fourth.

For McElrea, it is his second victory of the season and now trails Lundqvist in the overall standings by 77 points with five races remaining.

Christian Rasumssen ended up second, with Brabham third to give Andretti Autosport a sweep of the podium.

After Lundqvist, it was Sting Ray Robb in fifth.

Jacob Abel, Daniel Frost, Ernie Francis Jr., Benjamin Pedersen and Christian Bogle round out the rest of the top 10.

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