Twelve Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires drivers tested last week at World Wide Technology Raceway ahead of Saturday's 75-lap race at the venue. More than 2,200 laps were turned in the test in preparation for the final oval race of the season.
Drivers and teams were in search of pace that will set them up for success heading into the final stretch of the season and the final oval of 2022. Here are a few takeaways:
Tale of two sessions: With last Friday's test split into morning and afternoon sessions, drivers were given the opportunity to get up to speed at the 1.25-mile oval, while the afternoon session reflected race-like conditions.
Benjamin Pedersen of Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports adjusted well to the cool and slick conditions that the track offered throughout the day, and he topped the speed chart in both sessions. His lap of 28.0973 seconds beat out HMD Motorsports teammate Danial Frost by .1246 seconds, while the gap from first to 12th was less than a second.
Indy Lights championship leader Linus Lundqvist of HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing was third in the morning session and fourth in the afternoon session.
Andretti Autosport drivers Christian Rasmussen and Hunter McElrea finished second and third, respectively, in the afternoon session.
Oval contenders: With only two ovals on the 2022 Indy Lights schedule, the opportunity to master the craft of this racing discipline is small. Rasmussen earned a second-place finish at Iowa and was second in the combined testing at WWTR.
The 22-year-old Danish driver is looking to finish 2022 on a high note after mixed results so far this season. With his success in the Road to Indy ladder at the track, he might be a factor for the win this weekend.
Championship contenders: With four races left in the season, the championship is mathematically down to four drivers – Lundqvist, Sting Ray Robb, McElrea and Matthew Brabham – although Lundqvist has a commanding 95-point lead over Robb. Robb and Brabham drive for Andretti Autosport.
All four contenders showed speed during the test, with Lundqvist having the most consistent pace, but McElrea had the fastest overall time among these drivers at 28.2331 seconds. WWTR might serve as the last chance for any driver to gain big on Lundqvist.
Saturday's race is set for 4:15 p.m. ET with live coverage on Peacock Premium, INDYCAR Live! and the INDYCAR Radio Network.