Linus Lundqvist

A handful of NTT INDYCAR SERIES teams took advantage this week of the first break in the schedule since early May to – you guessed it – turn more laps in the search for speed.

Team Penske (Josef Newgarden, Scott McLaughlin, Will Power), Chip Ganassi Racing (Marcus Armstrong), Dale Coyne Racing (David Malukas, Sting Ray Robb) and Juncos Hollinger Racing (Agustin Canapino, Callum Ilott) all tested Wednesday at Road America, site of the series’ next race, the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR on Sunday, June 18. The iconic 4.014-mile circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, also stayed busy Thursday when Arrow McLaren (Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Alexander Rossi) and AJ Foyt Racing (Benjamin Pedersen) also tested there.

While times and speeds were not officially released from the private tests on the natural road course, various media reports and social media feeds have given an opportunity to try to make some itemized deductions:

Pato Quickest Overall

While it’s never a great idea to compare times from different days due to weather and track conditions, it’s worth noting Pato O’Ward was the quickest overall in two days of testing at Road America in his No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.

O’Ward was .185 of a second quicker than teammate Alexander Rossi on Thursday at Road America. Reigning series champion Will Power was tops Wednesday in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet among the eight drivers on track, .1889 of a second ahead of teammate and 2023 Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden.

Ilott Back in Comfort Zone

Sometimes it’s easy to forget Callum Ilott is in just his second full season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with Juncos Hollinger Racing. Ilott has shown outstanding speed and promise with the small, growing team since coming to the series full time at the start of last season.

Ilott had a rough race day last Sunday at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, eliminated from the street race on Lap 2 after running into the back of Kyle Kirkwood’s No. 27 AutoNation Honda. But Ilott appears to have shaken off that miscue quickly in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet, if his testing results at Road America are any indication.

The Briton was third quickest overall, just two-tenths of a second behind leader Power and less than a tenth behind Newgarden.

That strong performance could portend a good result for Ilott, who cut his racing teeth on European circuits that resemble Road America more than the rough-and-tumble streets of Detroit. Ilott was the top-finishing rookie last year in the race at Road America, placing 11th.

Lundqvist, Sowery at Sebring

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing also took the chance to evaluate drivers Thursday at Sebring (Florida) International Raceway. 2022 INDY NXT by Firestone champion Linus Lundqvist drove for ECR in the No. 21 Chevrolet of full-time competitor Rinus VeeKay, while INDY NXT by Firestone veteran Toby Sowery tested the No. 15 United Rentals Honda of Graham Rahal for RLL. Both drivers turned approximately 150 laps each on the short course at Sebring.

This was Lundqvist’s second test this season in INDYCAR SERIES machinery, as he also did a full day of oval testing this spring with RLL at Texas Motor Speedway. Lundqvist also tested in late 2021 on a road course in an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car fielded by Andretti Autosport, as he continues to be a prospect attracting interest from many teams. This was Sowery's first outing in an INDYCAR SERIES car.

“It’s been a great day, and a pleasure to work with everyone at Ed Carpenter Racing for the first time,” Lundqvist said. “It was really busy with a lot of time and mileage in the car, which is particularly useful in a year like this when I’m not racing regularly. The pace was encouraging from the get-go, and the team were able to test a lot of different things, which was good. It’s all smiles; it’s been a terrific day.”

The test was part of a busy “off” week for ECR. The team announced Thursday that 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was taking over the No. 20 Chevrolet starting June 18 at Road America after the team and driver Conor Daly parted company Wednesday by mutual agreement.