Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio winner Alex Palou, Hy-Vee IndyCar driver Christian Lundgaard and Jack Harvey of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
PIT PASS INDY PRESENTED BY HY-VEE – SEASON 3, EPISODE 27 –Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio winner Alex Palou, Hy-Vee IndyCar driver Christian Lundgaard and Jack Harvey of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
July 4, 2023
Show host Bruce Martin takes you on a high-speed advance on another action-packed episode of Pit Pass Indy Presented by Hy-Vee including exclusive interviews with IndyCar points leader Alex Palou, as well as Rahal Letterman Lanigan drivers Christian Lundgaard and Jack Harvey.
Although the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway promises to be the highlight of the summer, race over to your local Hy-Vee throughout the year.
Hy-Vee -- Where there's a helpful smile in every aisle.
For more INDYCAR coverage, follow Bruce Martin at Twitter at @BruceMartin_500
"Penske" means performance ... and winning
For good reason. Since 1966, Team Penske has won 43 national championships, 17 IndyCar alone. Its 18 Indy 500 victories are a record. And last year, Penske was the first team in history to win both the IndyCar and NASCAR Cup Series championships in the same season. Those are results that are tough to top.
Speakers: Bruce Marti, Alex Palou, Christian Lundgaard, & Jack Harvey
IndyCar fans, it's time to start your engines. Welcome to Pit Pass Indy, a production of Evergreen Podcasts. I'm your host, Bruce Martin, a journalist who regularly covers the NTT IndyCar Series.
Our goal at Pit Pass Indy is to give racing fans an insider's view of the exciting world of the NTT IndyCar Series in a fast-paced podcast, featuring interviews with the biggest names in the sport.
I bring nearly 40 years of experience covering IndyCar and NACSAR, working for such media brands as nbcsports.com, si.com, ESPN Sports Ticker, Sports Illustrated, Autoweek, and Speed Sport.
So, let's drop the green flag on this episode of Pit Pass Indy.
Welcome to this week's edition of Pit Pass Indy presented by Hy-Vee. We are proud and honored to bring Hy-Vee to the show as the presenting sponsor of Pit Pass Indy.
We will continue to cover the entire NTT IndyCar Series community, and our new partners at Hy-Vee will help us tell those stories.
Hy-Vee is proud to be the sponsor of the Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway as IndyCar returns to the fastest short track on the planet July 21 to 23, 2023.
It promises to be the biggest weekend of the summer with two races on the 0.875 mile Iowa Speedway Oval, and four of the biggest names in entertainment performing before and after each race.
American Idol winner and multimedia superstar, Carry Underwood will kick off the Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend with a performance prior to Saturday's NTT IndyCar Series Race, the Hy-Vee Homefront 250, presented by Instacart on Saturday, July 22nd.
Country music icon and six time Grammy Award nominee, Kenny Chesney will perform following Saturday's Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend, NTT IndyCar Series Race.
The action continues the following day with another full IndyCar Series race, the Hy-Vee One Step 250, presented by Gatorade. Three time Grammy Award winner and country music power group, Zac Brown Band will perform prior to the race on Sunday, July 23rd.
British singer songwriter and global chart topping artist Ed Sheeran will wrap up Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend with a performance following Sunday's IndyCar Race on July 23.
For tickets, fans can visit hyveeindycarraceweekend.com or call the ticket office at (641) 417-6007, Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern Time.
All although the Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway promises to be the highlight of the summer, race over to your local Hy-Vee throughout the year. Hy-Vee, where there's a helpful smile in every aisle.
Pit Pass Indy presented by Hy-Vee was at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on July 2nd.
Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing scored his third straight victory and his fourth win in the last five races to strengthen his lead in the NTT IndyCar Series Championship standings.
He entered the Mid-Ohio Race Weekend with a 74 point lead over his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Marcus Ericsson, but second place finisher in the race. And a fellow Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon has taken over second place in the standings.
Palou's lead is now, 110 points over Dixon as IndyCar heads into a weekend off following the 4th of July holiday before resuming the season with the Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Toronto on July 16.
Palou started the July 2nd Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio fourth on the grid, and took the lead on lap 28. He would be in front for 48 of the 80 laps in the race and defeated Dixon by 5.0242 seconds.
I caught up with the hottest driver in the NTT IndyCar Series for this exclusive interview for Pit Pass Indy presented by Hy-Vee, where there's a helpful smile in every aisle.
He's back on Pit Pass Indy presented by Hy-Vee, it’s Alex Palou, the winner of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
It's after this victory, you now, have 110 point lead in the battle for the championship. So, for the rest of your competitors, you can tell them, “Look out Palou.”
It's been great. It's been great to get our post-race reports here. We had some really good results. And yeah, as you said, unbelievable the gap that we've been able to open. We had a really clean season so far and we've been able to maximize everything.
So, yeah, hopefully, we can keep it going. We know how tight IndyCar is and how tight it can get by the end of the season. So, glad that we have those points in our favor.
Your third straight victory, beginning with the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix in the beginning of June, and then you won at Road America, and now, you've won here at Mid-Ohio. Coming up will be the Honda Indy Toronto in a couple of weeks, and then the Hy-Vee IndyCar Doubleheader at Iowa Speedway.
You really have the makings of not only opening up a bigger lead here in the battle for the championship, but really determining just the rest of the season. How does that feel to have that in your control?
Oh, it feels amazing. I mean, I wouldn't say that it's going to be an easy ending of the season, but obviously, I prefer to have those points, as I said, in our favor instead of having to catch up.
So, Toronto, it's a place that I loved. Last year, we had really good cars and I had a really good race going on, so hopefully, we can still stretch and get another result in Iowa then.
We tested there, we made a big progress. So, I'm looking forward to go there and see if we can get some really good results.
The last time a driver in the IndyCar Series won three races in a row, happened to be your first three IndyCar Series races of your rookie season. It was Scott Dixon in 2020, you were driving for Dale Coyne Racing.
What do you recall when that season started, to see Scott Dixon win three in a row and go, “Wow, one of these days, I'm going to do that.”
Well, I was just thinking that it was a pain to see the same driver winning three races in a row. It was the start of the season and that was brutal. But yeah, honestly, cannot believe that we are now, doing that.
Hopefully, we can make it for in Toronto, but yeah, we'll keep our heads down, focus on the work, and hopefully, we can get even more wins this season.
You’ve won four races out of the last five contests. Do you ever think of how close you could have made that five in a row by the one in the Indianapolis 500 where you had to battle back from 28th place after the pit lane incident with Rinus VeeKay midway through the race?
You were having a pretty good race that day starting on the pole.
It was going to be a lot better than what we had, obviously, because we had to fight back. No, I don't really waste too much energy on that. It's motorsport, could have been a bit better, yes, but could have been a lot worse as well.
So, yeah, happy with the result that we got there, all the learnings. And happy that we recovered so much because otherwise we wouldn't be as happy as we are now, on the championship.
What was your strategy to win the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio? If you could describe that for the listeners.
We went for an alternate strategy. So, started on the primaries, had to survive the first couple of laps while getting the tires into temperature. Saved some fuel, went two laps longer than Colton and one longer than Rahal, which was good enough to overtake them.
And then we had to manage our rates. We know that we struggle a little bit on tire deck but running up front, it was dual to do it, and we made it into lane.
The only time you had a little bit of a problem was when you got held up a little bit by the slower car, driven by Benjamin Pedersen. Your lead went from about a ten second lead down to about a four second lead. How concerned were you and how much was he holding you up?
Yeah, I was concerned by us just having more tire deck because we had to follow. We were losing the advantage that we had and I was having to use a lot of overtake, which is not great just in case there's a yellow at the end.
So, yeah, I'm glad I was able to get through and get our lead back to some couple of seconds until we got more traffic and just lost again four or five seconds.
So, yeah, it's IndyCar, it's tough to pass here. As soon as you have a back marker up front, it's tough to overtake them.
You're from Spain, but it's 4th of July weekend in the United States and your sponsor’s the American Legion. So, how patriotic does that all feel to be able to win on 4th of July weekend with the American Legion?
Oh, it's amazing. And actually they asked today, they said, “Oh, we were really happy that we won two races, but can you make it three because it's special weekend for us and a special week.”
So, it's pretty fun that we are able to do that. It's very special for the American Legion and for us. And yeah, it's time to celebrate a little bit to try and also, be the one initiative up there even more for everybody to know. So, yeah, it's been a win-win.
And then coming up here in a couple of weeks is the big Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend at Iowa. The way that you tested there a couple of weeks ago in June, how did the test go? How confident are you that you can go there and get a victory or two at Iowa?
It's going to be tough, honestly. We had really, really good test compared to last year. I was a little more comfortable on driving in car balance wise.
But it's going to be tough. We know it's not going to be an easy weekend. We'll work for it. We still have some time to try and make some adjustments on driving in car, and we'll get ready for it.
Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing, winner of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, congratulations on your big victory. Good luck the rest of July, including the stop at Iowa. And thank you for joining us today, on Pit Pass Indy presented by Hy-Vee, where there's a helpful smile in every aisle.
We'll be right back to Pit Pass Indy after this short break.
Welcome back to Pit Pass Indy presented by Hy-Vee.
Christian Lundgaard drives the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in his second full season in the IndyCar Series. The 21 year old from Denmark started fifth and finished fourth in the July 2nd Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
I conducted this interview with Lundgaard on June 22nd during a promotional appearance for a Hy-Vee on the streets of Des Moines, Iowa, for this exclusive Pit Pass Indy interview.
Joining us now, on Pit Pass Indy presented by Hy-Vee is the Hy-Vee driver in the NTT IndyCar Series. It's Christian Lundgaard of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Christian, how does it feel to walk into any Hy-Vee store, see your car hanging from the ceiling, see your face plastered over some of the advertising? What's it like being the poster boy of not only that store, but also, the Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway?
I think just in general, to be able to represent such a brand … I went to see basically all their buildings today, and the headquarters. And just what this company does is just extraordinary.
And I didn't really realize until today, what they actually do for their employees as well. They are a huge promoter.
And even just for IndyCar itself, I think what they're doing for IndyCar in some regards is more than IndyCar themselves. Just walking into a Hy-Vee, I saw more Indy car merchandise than I've seen in some actual merchandise tools.
So, I think it's just great that we've got Hy-Vee on board as a team sponsor, but also, for the series.
We're doing this interview on the streets of the Des Moines, a month out from the race. There's a street party pit stop contest that Hy-Vee is sponsoring to help promote the race weekend at Iowa. There are some races on the schedule where a week out and you don't see any promotion.
So, this really underlines just the activation that they do, the aggressive marketing and promotion that Hy-Vee does to help IndyCar.
A hundred percent. And I think it's what we need. We saw it last year. We saw what Hy-Vee did for IndyCar and they set a new benchmark for every other promoter.
And in my opinion, I would say the other promoters didn't really catch up on it. And if it's because it's a lack of budget or if it's a lack of understanding that this is necessary to bring the series forward, I don't know.
But what Hy-Vee is doing and being a part of that, being an ambassador for that brand, I'm proud of. And I've told everybody at Hy-Vee that whatever they need me for, I'll be available because I want to be a part of bringing this series forward.
Having gone through the Hy-Vee headquarters in West Des Moines, it really is an impressive facility. But when you walk into any Hy-Vee supermarket, it's impressive just to see the cleanliness, the quality, the selection, the products that they have. It's unlike any other supermarkets you could probably find.
You walk in there and you are amazed straight away. I mean, you said it, I mean, how clean it is. Just the value, the products they have is high end. And I think that just sets the benchmark again. And I think whatever industry they're in, they're at the top. And I think that's what Hy-Vee stands for.
So, in that sense as well on track, I want to be on top and represent the brand from the leader circle and winner circle.
Although you're from Denmark, you live in the Indianapolis area now, and Hy-Vee will open a store in Zionsville, Indiana in the near future. I'm sure you can't wait for that to happen so that you can take part and help support the sponsor.
Oh, absolutely. First of all, travel will be a lot easier to just go down the road. But no, I think to be able to have one close definitely will also, help activation around Indy. And I think we need that at this moment. We don't have one, and I know there's a few coming. One quite soon.
So, I'll definitely be down there as much as I can. Just helping to promote. And if I have some friends from Europe over, we'll definitely go down there so they can see me hanging on a wall.
On June 21st, there as a private test at Iowa Speedway. Although 20 of the 27, 28 cars that compete in the IndyCar Series were on track, so it wasn't really that private of a test.
But your day came to an early end. You had an engine issue around two o'clock. What did you discover the rest of the day by helping your teammates, Graham Rahal and Jack Harvey?
I mean, the test day itself actually went very well. We had three different and three separate test plans across the three cars, and they got through theirs. I didn't quite get through mine for obvious reasons. We had a failure on the car that ended up being a fire.
But other than that the progress that we were making up until then was very positive and everything we did was a step forward. So, I matched my lap time from the test the previous year on my first set of tires and the track was quite slick. So, we were pretty happy with that.
Colton seemed to be extremely fast, but I think absolutely, everybody is a little worried about that because he's really, really fast. I think he was almost two and a half times clear of P2.
So, we got some work to do. But as a team, we made progress. I helped Graham and Jack out. Graham seemed to have some issues later in the day. But obviously, not having gone through all my tires, I think we could have gone faster on my car in the day.
It's called the world's fastest short oval. When you're out there whipping around that track in 18 second laps, what's it like?
I mean, I've driven a race car around the fastest street circuit in the world in an F2 car. And that's pretty sick. So, to come to Iowa Speedway and drive around in a circle on a track that's that bumpy, is pretty cool.
I think every driver that did their install came in and said, “This track had become more bumpy.” But it's because you're going so slow. As soon as we got up to speed, it seemed pretty similar compared to previous years.
And I mean, it's a special place. What I like about that place is it is so fast and I think the bumps make it feel even faster, but you can drive three side by side and I think that's what's going to make the racing so great there.
With the package that IndyCar has with the aerodynamics and the mechanical grip, and the way that track is, and the heat, how challenging is that to have back to back full races, daytime races on a very hot time of the year in Iowa?
Yeah, I mean, I can't really complain because it's my birthday weekend. So, there's no better way to celebrate my birthday than racing a race car.
But other than that, I mean, it's definitely going to be warm. It was around a hundred degrees last year and I doubt that it's going to be much less than that this year.
So, it's going to be a warm one for sure. But the good thing is it's going to be the same for everybody. And that's where the fitness comes into play.
When you combine the fact it's the only doubleheader weekend of the season on the IndyCar schedule. Plus on Saturday, Carrie Underwood gives a concert before the race. Kenny Chesney gives one after the race.
You come back on Sunday for another full race preceded by Zac Brown Band before the race and Ed Sheeran after the race. You as a driver got to be focused to go out there and do battle. But do you get tempted to go out there and see some of the concerts?
I'm definitely going to see the Ed Sheeran concert hopefully from victory lane. It is my birthday that day. So, to race a race car and have Ed Sheeran play, it's kind of cool, I would say.
But no, I think as a driver, we don't really think much about it. For sure we’re attempted to go out there, but we also, know what we are there for. It's not that easy to forget luckily. So, I mean, it's an action packed weekend.
Luckily, we also, have the Indy NXT Series race there. So, we will also, be looking at that just to make sure that we can learn as much about the track prior to our race.
What does the area around Iowa Speedway remind you of? Is there anywhere? It does remind you of home?
Home, yeah, because I live in the country. Well, at least I grew up in the countryside in Denmark. So, every time I go to Iowa, I basically just see home.
The one thing about this country is everything is just so big. Which it isn't really where I come from. It's a very little tiny country.
So, to come here, especially in Iowa, but now also, having seen the Hy-Vee headquarters, what they're doing and they're based here, I think it's only going to bring Iowa forward and especially Des Moines.
I hope one day we can have a street race down here. That would be pretty cool.
So, Hy-Vee's involved with the series, they're involved with the Iowa Speedway IndyCar Race Weekend, but they're also, involved with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
So, they have all three of the major facets covered to be able to have a company that's that involved in all three of the most important areas that involve your team at least. How important is that?
For me as a human being, it's important. It's going to bring my brand forward. It's going to bring the team's brand forward. It's going to bring the series brand forward and even their own brand.
So, I mean, I know brands that don't necessarily need the promotion just because they're not that known. And I've had talks with Lego before because Lego's Danish, but they don't need the promotion because they're so well known.
And in this case, I think it's great that Hy-Vee is helping this serious move forward. And that's what I think really makes the difference here because we need that as a series. We need that as a team as well.
And for me to be a part of such brand, I'm proud of that. Everything they do for the sport, everything they do for the team only brings us forward and makes us stronger.
Speaking of being made stronger, the team got off to a little bit of rocky start to the season, especially through the Indianapolis 500. But do you see things turning around now?
Performance has been better at Detroit and also, at Road America. We've got Toronto coming up and then of course the doubleheader weekend, the Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway.
Yeah. We're extremely strong on road courses and I think I've proved that in the 45 Hy-Vee, that our package on the road courses is extremely strong. We're fast, we're competitive, and we get the results, we extract. And I think that's what's super important for us.
We need to improve our package on ovals for sure. We saw that at IMS for the 500 and we've seen that at Texas as well. Our street circuits package hasn't been good enough, at least at Detroit.
So, going into Toronto, we need to be better. Toronto last year is where we made improvements within the team and we started performing better.
We have an EMPA guy on the team that came from Andretti. He wasn't quite able to make things happen in the beginning of the season, but we're starting to see improvements and changes for the better.
So, I'm pretty confident that now, moving forward, we're going to be a stronger team and hopefully, bring all three cars up where it's fun to fight for podiums.
And in your second full season as an NTT IndyCar Series driver, how do you feel in terms of what you've been able to achieve this early in your career?
To come to IndyCar, really just it's a pleasure to be here. The brand, the racing, the competition is so close. It's just pure enjoyment driving and competing.
And I've been fortunate enough in my career to drive some pretty cool cars. I've driven F1 cars, old and new. And I've helped Alpine develop this year's car actually.
And I mean, this series to me brings back memories from go-karts. And that's what I like the most about this is everybody is friends off track. But once the helmet's on, we're competitors and we basically want to push each other off the track because we are that competitive.
And I spoke to Josef after the Road America race where we had a little coming together and it's an apology and we move on. And that's again, what makes this series so great.
Are a lot of the drivers you've competed with in the European Junior Formulas learning that this can be a great destination series?
Definitely. I mean, I have people contacting me from Europe that wants to come over here. We don't really want just an European field here, because then it's just going to be a European series. And that's not necessarily what we want.
But we need the good drivers to come over here. And I know some of them are looking at it. But right now, I think it's proven to be the strongest racing series in the world. We just need to be able to promote the series better.
We'll keep your eye on this driver because he's going up. Christian Lundgaard, driver of the Hy-Vee Honda at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, good luck the rest of the season. Good luck in the Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway.
And thank you for joining us today, on Pit Pass Indy presented by Hy-Vee, where there's a helpful smile in every aisle.
We'll be right back to Pit Pass Indy after this short break.
Welcome back to Pit Pass Indy presented by Hy-Vee.
Jack Harvey is Lundgaard's teammate at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and drives the No. 30 Honda. Harvey was the Hy-Vee driver for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in 2022. And tells me in this exclusive interview for Pit Pass Indy, how important the company is to the entire NTT IndyCar Series.
Joining us now, on Pit Pass Indy presented by Hy-Vee is Jack Harvey of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Jack, Hy-Vee is on board, your car as one of the associate sponsors. Last year, they were primary on your car. You got to be the poster boy for Hy-Vee at all the stores last year. What was that experience like?
Oh, that was awesome. I mean, what Hy-Vee have done since they've been in IndyCar, bringing Iowa Speedway essentially back to the calendar, but also, what they've done with us as a team at RLL.
It's just been awesome and being able to get that support in a place that ultimately isn't home for me even within America, it's just incredible.
Obviously, the team decided to switch kind of some bits around at the end of last season. So, now, I'm on the 30 Kustom Entertainment car, but as you said, still with Hy-Vee pretty proudly displayed.
So, at the end of the day, it's just been one big team effort here. At least that's what we're try and shoot for and excited for what we're trying to do this afternoon.
Here we are a month out from the Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway. We're at an event in downtown Des Moines, a pit stop competition between yourself and teammate Christian Lundgaard.
This shows the level of activation at Hy-Vee has been able to do with the IndyCar program. There's a lot of races on the schedule that you don't have this kind of activation in advance of a race.
What is it like to get that level of commitment for the series?
Well, I think it's so needed. And I think Hy-Vee done a great job at using IndyCar as their activation in marketing as well. It's pretty clear that if you walk into a store, you see whether it was me last year, Christian this year. They're very present with their IndyCar marketing, which I think is amazing.
Last year, we ended up driving the cars down a couple of other streets in Des Moines and today, we're doing a static pit stop demonstration.
So, unfortunately, the cars won't be running, but I think it's fun to be able to come out into a super public place and just show people what goes into IndyCar pit stops and ultimately, I think they're one of the most fun parts of a race.
So, I think it's just amazing to see Hy-Vee using IndyCar as probably maybe not the biggest but one of their biggest marketing campaigns.
It also, shows that they have bigger plans for the IndyCar Series. They're involved with from the team aspect with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, they're involved with the race aspect with the race at Iowa Speedway.
They're also, involved with the series through a level of promotions, branding on the TV broadcast, some of the campaigns that they use. It's almost like they've created a blueprint for other sponsors to activate.
I hope so. I mean, certainly, that's the hope that everybody comes and occasionally get people who reset the bar and certainly feel like Hy-Vee are those people in terms of IndyCar sponsors and partners.
And like I said a few times, I'm just proud that they chose RLL as to be one of their teams. Because ultimately, I'm sure every team on pit lane would love to have the Hy-Vee support like they give to us. But I think it also, shows new sponsors hoping to come into the series what you can do.
And hopefully, it's been a really successful partnership. I think they believe that it has been so far. Probably there's some bits we can all do to help always. But yeah, I think it's been awesome. I would call them they’re bar raisers.
From a team standpoint, on June 21st, they had a test, it was a private test at Iowa Speedway, but 20 Indy cars showed up, which is almost the full field. With full field is anywhere from 27 to 28 cars.
What did you learn from the test and what type of baseline does that help provide you when you return for the Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend in July?
Well, it's just great to get back on the track, man. I mean, Iowa's really not a track that we get to test out a whole bunch. And certainly, have enjoyed driving now, I'd say from last year to this year. Perhaps it's even more bumpy than what it was the previous season.
But yeah, I thought we had a good test. We got through our testing program quite nicely. I think we ended the day P7, which when you see how competitive in IndyCar is right now, it feels like a decent day and hopefully, a little bit more to come.
So, yeah, I think it’s allowed us to try some different setup philosophies, some ideas that we've been kicking around.
And between Christian working on his setup and his testing items, Graham doing the same, and me on the 30, also, doing the same, I think we just had a productive day. I think it was just a nice test for everyone at RLL.
RLL had a struggle during the month of May. It started off with a promising month of May, the achievements they had in GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motors Speedway Road course. Unfortunately, the oval was a different story.
Do you see RLL on the way back up now, after going through the struggles that happened in May?
Well, I think even just holding steady would probably be a good struggle. So, I think everybody coming off of May was very honest and open about how it went.
And ultimately, just trying to stop that flood or bleeding, whatever you want to call it, basically plugging that hole was something we needed to do. And I think therefore allowed us to have that reset, figure out what we wanted to do better and then we've gone out and done it.
I think it Road America, the pace looked like it was there. We feel like we believe we're not bad on the road courses and the street circuits. Superspeedway still probably our Achilles heel. But yeah, certainly get the feeling that the momentum is back with us a little bit.
There were some changes made on the team, shuffling some personnel around. Bobby Rahal talked about that a little bit. From your standpoint, what do you see as the changes that have been made?
To honest, man, it's not something I want to get into. At the end of the day, it's the team's business. For Bobby, Mike, and David, what they decide to do with their race team is completely their business.
And that with the changes that they decided to make, I think the atmospheres felt pretty good since all things considered.
It feels like we're really starting to rebuild again and create some stability and just move forward. So, I don't want to say I'm happy or sad with the changes. It's not my business necessarily, it's theirs and they seem happy with it, so.
You have nine races left in the season heading into the July 2nd Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. I know it's an important year for you. It's a contract year. Opportunities are important for you to continue your career in IndyCar.
So, what is your attitude going to be like for the rest of the year? Your goals? Obviously, the better you do, the better your prospects can be.
Well, I think that's the thing, is I haven't really worried about the future too hard yet. And that's just a personal outlook because you start thinking about the future, you probably start tensing up a little bit.
So, just try to worry about every weekend that's coming up, mate. Honestly, the most important race is the next one. So, for us right now, it's going to be Mid-Ohio and then we'll focus on all the gaggle that come after that. We're not quite halfway in the season yet. Feels like it, but we're not.
I'm optimistic for what we can do in the second half of the season. I feel like all the tracks are coming up. I've gone well out in the past and yeah, certainly excited just to go out and give it my best.
And whether it's a contract year or not, I mean, every year feels like an important one, but this does feel obviously like an extra important one. We'll see what opportunities there are and yeah, move from there.
Now, back to the Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway. The tracks got character, it's got some bumps, it's usually pretty hot.
What's the physical demands like not only having a double header, but also, the heat two day races, that you have to put up with? Is it really survival or the fittest?
It's probably survival just for everybody really. The best balance is probably the guy who's going to be driving the most calm, the most happy, et cetera. And that's also, why we went to test is just to try and get used to all them things.
And I think at the end of the day, the heat's probably the biggest aspect. I think it's really not too bad once you're in the car, but it's pretty stale when you're stationary.
So, in that moment, certainly hoping for not too many yellows, probably bust out the cool suit for these race weekend in all fairness. But I think the big thing from race one is going to be just hydrating up, stretching, staying loose, and getting ready for race two.
Also, the fact that there's double the points available on one weekend because there's two races. So, it's very important. It'll help separate the championship contenders from the rest of the pack.
And to know that there's going to be some guys out there that their season may be on the line in terms championship status, that they have to do well on that race. With that many points available, does the mindset change any?
I don't know, man, really. Because I'm not sure, I guess I haven't really given any time thinking that that was how it was. I guess I just never really thought about it, but I think it's a good point. It's one to definitely think about.
I think there's a level of aggression that everyone needs to have in this series. Sometimes it feels like it's quite high. Right now, is my feeling of an IndyCar Series. I think it just puts the extra importance on going there and having a good weekend.
Is unloading well, having two good qualifying sessions or like two good qualifying laps within the session, I mean.
And then doing your best in race one, doing your best in race two because essentially it's a double points weekend. It will separate out some things all through the stand-ins, all through the field. So, I just want to make sure we're on the right side of that.
And also, at the recent Iowa Speedway tests, every team participated except Team Penske, Arrow McLaren, and they're the two teams that won each of last year's double-header races.
So, as they're a little bit of mystery as to what they may have or how they're preparing for the race that the rest of you are trying to pass them with?
Well, yeah, I mean, when they won the last year's races, they're probably not too worried about their speed. I mean, I think Team Penske in particular have always been very fast to Iowa, so I'm sure they're confident with the package that they're taking.
And I'm sure you're confident with the package you'll have on race day. I hope so. Jack Harvey, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, good luck at the Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway. And thank you for joining us on Pit Pass Indy presented by Hy-Vee, where there's a helpful smile in every aisle.
And that puts a checkered flag on this edition of Pit Pass Indy presented by Hy-Vee.
We want to thank our guests, IndyCar Series Championship leader, Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing. Christian Lundgaard of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. And Jack Harvey of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for joining us on today's podcast.
Along with loyal listeners like you, our guests help make Pit Pass Indy presented by Hy-Vee, your path to victory lane for all things IndyCar.
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For more IndyCar coverage, follow me at Twitter @BruceMartin (one word, uppercase B, uppercase M) _500.
This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thanks to our production team. Executive producers are Brigid Coyne and Gerardo Orlando. Recordings and edits were done by me, Bruce Martin, and final mixing was done by Dave Douglas. Learn more at evergreenpodcasts.com.
Until next time, be sure to keep it out of the wall.