Tom Blomqvist ran as high as sixth place in an impressive display during a caution filled race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as the Brit gained even more valuable time behind the wheel before his race was brought to a premature end.
Coming into the weekend fresh from completing full race distance at Portland International Raceway, INDYCAR rookie Tom Blomqvist (No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda) - who is set to drive full time for the Meyer Shank Racing outfit in 2024 - put in a fantastic racing performance around the iconic California venue in a race that was interrupted by eight caution periods.
Getting up to speed, Tom would record consistent running in Friday's valuable free practice sessions, completing 46 laps and finishing sessions one and two in P11 and P20 respectively as he geared up for Saturday's qualifying action.
Qualifying on the Saturday afternoon would see Tom take to the track for the opening group session, where he would finish the session in P11 at the fall of the chequered flag, which when combined with the final results, would see Tom starting from P21 on Sunday afternoon.
The racing action would kickstart with an incident filled first lap, resulting in a prolonged caution period. Tom remained calm under pressure to navigate the chaos of the opening lap and he would find himself in P11 as the race restarted once again.
After green flag running for an extended period, the third caution of the day would see Tom sitting P9 by the conclusion of lap forty as he gained ground whilst competitors continued to struggle around him. Whilst inside the top-ten, Tom would hold his own showcasing impressive speed in only his third INDYCAR start.
With another period of green flag running under his belt, Tom would find himself in P6 by lap 53, firmly placing himself amongst the seasoned championship protagonists as the laps continued to pass by. Another scheduled pitstop would see Tom fall outside the top-ten as another caution period arrived.
Unfortunately, lap 61 contact on one of the final restarts caused enough damage to send the No. 60 Honda back to the garage with the day ending early.
Looking back on the race, Tom said:
“That was a pretty wild race. I’m disappointed in how our race had to end - I got caught up in one of those restarts and it unfortunately ended our day early. I thought we had some good pace and the guys on the stand were making good strategy calls. We definitely got lucky a few times, but this race was also about being lucky to a point. It’s tough to end out the season like this, but it’s been great to get a head start on my full-season effort for next year. I can’t thank Mike and Jim enough for giving me this opportunity to fill in this year, and I’m looking forward to ’24.”
Image courtesy of Meyer Shank Racing