TORONTO (TodayNews) — Christian Lundgaard couldn’t wait to shave off his mustache by removing hair from his upper lip right on the winning track at the Honda Indy Toronto.
Lundgaard started from pole and took advantage of problems with IndyCar leader Alex Palow’s car to keep the win on Sunday. His first win at North America’s premier open-wheel circuit also ended his best friend’s mustache deal until he made it to the IndyCar podium.
Lundgaard said he was happy to be rid of facial hair.
“But I haven’t seen it yet, so I don’t know what it looks like,” said the 21-year-old Dane, who rubbed his upper lip at a post-race press conference. I guess I’ll wait and see.
Lundgaard took pole on Saturday as constant rain made the street around the Toronto Convention Center slippery. The son of 2000 European Rally Champion Henrik Lundgaard, the IndyCar sophomore took advantage of his off-road experience to take first place in the race.
But after qualifying, Lundgaard doubted that he would have the fastest car in a real race. In the end, he felt he was in control of the race from start to finish.
“We fight, especially on super fast tracks,” said Lundgaard, who led the race for 53 of 85 laps. “We are moving forward even though we don’t have the speed and performance on the super fast tracks.
“It just means we’ll do well elsewhere, and I think we proved that today.”
Palu finished second despite having started 15th on the grid and spent more than 20 laps treating a damaged front wing. Herta’s Colton finished third on his first podium finish of the season.
Palu has won three of the last four races on the circuit’s schedule. His podium finish on Sunday extended his lead in the season’s standings ahead of Scott Dixon, his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate.
“I’m glad we were able to win. In IndyCar, especially in races like this, it’s not easy,” said Palow, who now has 417 points to Dixon’s 300. “I think our race was a lot harder than it looks if you just look at the results.
“At some point I was in the wall, I didn’t know if we could get out of there or not.”
Scott McLaughlin and Dixon briefly held the lead halfway through the race. But their decision not to pit during the long yellow flag ended up giving Pal and Lundgaard the chance to take the lead when they really needed to stop.
Lundgaard overtook Palou with 24 laps to go and, knowing that the front wing of Ganassi’s car was loose, crashed into him.
“I knew I was going to pass him and that the cars ahead of him would still have to pit because they couldn’t do it on their tires or on fuel,” said Lundgaard, who moved up to seventh in the standings. IndiaCar. “I knew I had to overtake only one car and he fought.
“As soon as I passed him, I just took off.”
By the end of the race, Palou’s front fender was barely holding on, one end hanging down to the ground, and a large crack had formed in the nose of the car.
“I could feel it pulling and I was like, ‘Oh man, that’s not good,'” Palou said, adding that he tried to avoid curbs on the street track to save the wing. “I honestly thought we weren’t going to finish the race with this nose.
“I think it was only kept on sponsor stickers because there was nothing else.”
Dixon, the reigning Honda Indy Toronto champion, started seventh on the grid and even led for several laps, but finished fourth after his team miscalculated when he should enter the pit lane.
McLaughlin, who started the race in second position, finished sixth.
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