IndyCar: Top young driver left without a ride for 2023

Linus Lundqvist, IndyCar (Photo Credit: Detroit Free Press)
Linus Lundqvist, IndyCar (Photo Credit: Detroit Free Press) /

With the full-time lineup set, reigning Indy Lights champion Linus Lundqvist does not have a ride to compete in the 2023 IndyCar season.

The full-time driver lineup is set for the 2023 IndyCar season following three confirmations earlier this week.

Two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato is set to pilot the No. 11 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda in the oval races, sharing the ride with rookie road and street course driver Marcus Armstrong.

Rookie Agustin Canapino is set to drive the No. 78 Juncos Holliger Racing Chevrolet and rookie Sting Ray Robb is set to replace Sato behind the wheel of the No. 51 Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing Honda.

The confirmations mean that there are 27 cars set to run full-time throughout the 17-race season, with 26 driven by full-time drivers.

But not included in this year’s IndyCar driver lineup is Linus Lundqvist.

The top driver in the Road to Indy ladder does not have a ride for the 2023 IndyCar season, despite having been by far and away the most talented young driver in the so-called IndyCar pipeline.

Lundqvist won the 2020 Formula Regional Americas Championship competing for Global Racing Group with 15 wins in 17 races, placing second and sixth in his two non-wins.

He followed up a third place Indy Lights finish in 2021, when he won three times in 20 races for Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports, with a dominant championship-winning 2022 campaign during which he competed for Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports and won five times in 14 races.

Lundqvist had been rumored as a possible third Dale Coyne Racing driver, presumably with support from HMD Motorsports, but that didn’t come to fruition. The team’s only new addition for 2023 is Indy Lights runner-up Robb in a Rick Ware Racing-supported entry that was already on the grid.

Considering Honda’s reluctance to add another entry from the start, the only way Lundqvist had a reasonable shot to end up at Dale Coyne Racing was if Chip Ganassi Racing lost Alex Palou to Arrow McLaren. It wasn’t a sure thing even if that happened, but David Malukas was rumored as a potential replacement for Palou at Chip Ganassi Racing.

But Dale Coyne Racing and HMD Motorsports made clear that Malukas is under contract through 2023, and he is indeed set for a second year behind the wheel of the No. 18 Honda. Palou, meanwhile, is set for a third and presumably final year behind the wheel of Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 10 Honda.

Lundqvist’s name was also mentioned in discussions about the new Juncos Hollinger Racing entry, but without significant funding, nothing ever materialized there either, and it was Canapino who landed the seat.

So for the last few months, the feeling has sort of been that Lundqvist would end up on the outside looking in by the time the start of the 2023 season rolled around. Now that feeling is turning into an unfortunate reality, one which calls into question the real purpose of the Road to Indy (particularly the newly rebranded Indy NXT).

Not since the 2011 season has the reigning Indy Lights champion made no appearances in IndyCar. To this day, 2010 champion Jean-Karl Vernay has never competed in an IndyCar race.

dark. Next. All-time IndyCar wins list

What’s worse? The 27 full-time entries for the 2023 season are the most since 2011. And yet there was still nowhere for the 23-year-old Swede to go.