Christian Lundgaard retired at the Texas Motor Speedway after a minor collision with Andretti Autosport driver Colton Herta.
Lundgaard had an excellent race pace, particularly in clean air and set some very impressive lap times.
Josef Newgarden won in a pulsating race after superb last-lap pass on Scott McLaughlin with Chip Ganassi Racing driver Marcus Ericsson finishing third.
Lundgaard said after the race via Rahal.com “The first oval race is done here in Texas. It was a tough one to swallow at the end, I had some contact with Colton.
“In the end I’m happy to have the car in one piece, but it was one hell of an experience.
“We were basically the fastest car on the track at that point for quite some time. So I think as a first experience I can be satisfied, be happy.”
Lundgaard improved immensely over practice and qualifying during his first event on an oval, an awe-inspiring feat from the Danish driver.
After qualifying in P25 for the race, Lundgaard set the fourth quickest time in final practice with a 00:23.373, quicker than Herta and Pato O’Ward.
The 20-year-old made a great start to the race gaining five places on lap one staying ahead of his teammate Graham Rahal.
An early Safety Car was needed on Lap 14 as Alexander Rossi retired due to technical trouble.
Lundgaard drove very consistently in the opening stages of the race battling with NASCAR veteran Jimmie Johnson.
He benefitted from Newgarden and others pitting on Lap 58 to move up to P15 for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
After he pitted a few laps later Lundgaard found himself in P16 ahead of Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato and Johnson.
McLaughlin led the race ahead of Newgarden and pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist on the 1.500-mile circuit.
Sato made contact with Devlin DeFrancesco on Lap 99 which ended his race and brought out the second Safety Car of the event.
Romain Grosjean retired under the Safety Car as his engine expired. Lundgaard took this opportunity to pit but he lost a place to Johnson in P16.
Kyle Kirkwood crashed on Lap 115 just after the Safety Car restart bringing out yet another Caution.
The race resumed 14 laps later, a trio of cars hit the wall including one of Lundgaard’s teammates Graham Rahal.
This allowed the 20-year-old to move up to P13 in the number 30 car just behind his teammate Santino Ferrucci who stood in for the injured Jack Harvey.
Newgarden suffered a poor restart dropping to sixth place from P2 losing him valuable ground to the leaders.
McLaughlin led from Rinus VeeKay who enjoyed a great restart in his Ed Carpenter Racing car.
Lundgaard got past J. R. Hilderbrand on Lap 165 as his Rahal Letterman Lanigan began to make progress through the field.
He continued his purple patch in the middle of the race getting past the reigning champion Alex Palou and his teammate Ferrucci for P10.
Lundgaard pitted for his final scheduled pit stop of the race shortly afterward which dropped him outside the top ten.
The Danish driver retired with just a handful of laps to go on Lap 233 after making contact with Herta ending his very impressive debut on an oval.
He was driving in twelfth place when he retired and performed very well over the weekend in Texas.
The Danish driver is now P15 in the championship standings after two rounds just ahead of Callum Ilott.
Lundgaard said “I came back in again because the car just didn’t feel right afterwards. I wasn’t going to put the car on the line, we were 4 laps down anyway at that point so we will take the experience and look forward to Long Beach.”
What a crazy race! ?
We had a strong run through the field, fighting our way up to 8th and battling for a top-5 result until a fatal pit stop cost us half a lap. Even then we were among the fastest cars on track before contact ended our race just short of the end. pic.twitter.com/8EImwioble
— Christian Lundgaard (@lundgaardoff) March 20, 2022