Fresh off its first NTT IndyCar Series championship victory with Chip Ganassi Racing and Alex Palou, the American Legion will continue with the team in 2024, but with a new driver delivering its messaging in rookie Linus Lundqvist.

The 2022 Indy NXT champion will drive the No. 8 Honda formerly piloted by Marcus Ericsson, albeit with new colors and branding from the American Legion. He’ll also have Indy 500-winning race engineer Brad Goldberg to steer him through the 17-race calendar.

“It still feels unreal,” Lundqvist told RACER. “To be completely honest, I am really honored and proud to be representing the American Legion, for many reasons. The two key parts for me are firstly, I’m a racer. They’ve had an amazing partnership with Ganassi over the last few years and won the championship. So it’s a championship-winning livery I’ll get to represent.

“But secondly, the more important thing is that this is bigger than selling some product,” Lundqvist. Racing itself is amazing, and actually using it to make a difference in people’s lives and actually save lives. To have the ability to play, albeit a small part of it, is something that I’m very proud to do.

“Obviously, it comes with pressure, but the business that we deal with in motorsport, there’s always going to be high pressure, especially when you race for Chip Ganassi. It comes with the territory, and it’s amazing to be able to be here to be part of this.”

The relationship between CGR and the military service organization began in 2021 with its ‘Be The One’ campaign which was created to stop the high suicide rate among veterans. Seventeen American military veterans end their lives on a daily basis.

CGR team manager Taylor Kiel watched Palou do an excellent job as an American Legion ambassador and has full confidence in Lundqvist’s ability to carry on the Spaniard’s work.

“Alex did a fantastic job with the American Legion and interacting with veterans at posts all throughout the race schedule; he’s the ultimate pro in and out of the car,” Kiel said. “But I can say the same about Linus as well. He’s proven to us in a very short amount of time that he understands what it takes to represent our partners and be an engaging ambassador.

“We’ve had some sponsor commitments and partner conferences so far this offseason, and he’s just absolutely knocked it out of the park. He’s completely genuine and walks into these sessions with his eyes wide open and just wants to interact with anybody and everybody that he can. That’s important for the Be The One campaign.”

Lundqvist says he’s ready for the busy off-track schedule ahead and welcomes the chance to give back to his adopted home country.

“I had the opportunity to come here a couple years ago and very much live the American dream and have succeeded in it,” he said. “That would never have been a possibility if this was not the country that it is. And we all know that we have a lot of veterans to thank for that because without them, I would not be in this position. What I’m doing is a small way of paying this back.

“I’m getting more and more integrated with the veteran community and I look forward to being even more integrated over the next few years. I feel just proud and honored to have the chance to represent them.”