Paddock Buzz: Rosenqvist Surging in Summer with AMSP – INDYCAR
A fourth-place finish in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Running third at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course when a mechanical issue bit him. A podium finish in Toronto. A second earned pole of the season last weekend on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Yes, Arrow McLaren SP’s Felix Rosenqvist has been rolling the past couple of months in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, and he knows it.
“For sure, I’ve been on my ‘A’ game the last seven, eight races,” he said, adding that it’s been a group effort on the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. “I think the pit crew has been on (its) ‘A’ game. I think the engineering team has really figured out (and) kind of simplified our program at little bit.”
The gains have been massive year over year. Rosenqvist finished 21st in the 2021 standings due to missing two races following a mechanical failure that sent him hard into the tire barrier in Detroit; he’s ninth this year with four races to go. Both his average starting and finishing position are above his career norms in this series, and his confidence seems to rise with each time in the car.
“I think the team is really vibing well,” he said. “We’re a young team still. There’s a lot of new things happening in McLaren and Arrow McLaren SP every day, and I feel like everything is kind of jelling a bit more every weekend, and the results are following that trend.
“It’s a good place to be right now.”
The good times kept rolling for Rosenqvist during the opening practice for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on Friday at Nashville. He was second overall with a best lap of 1 minute, 16.2050 seconds. Rosenqvist qualified fourth and finished eighth in last year’s inaugural Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.
Moving forward, Rosenqvist hopes the team becomes more consistent, as mechanical woes cost him better results at three of the past five races (Mid-Ohio, Race 1 at Iowa Speedway and last weekend’s Gallagher Grand Prix on the IMS road course).
“I wouldn’t sit here and say that we’re like on a massive roll because we’re still not winning races,” said Rosenqvist, whose only series victory came in a 2020 race at Road America. “But yeah, the performance is good, we’re there pace-wise every weekend (since mid-May). Oval, street course, road course (we’re good), so I think that’s obviously a massive step.”
About Last Year’s Inaugural Race
If last year is an indication, Andretti Autosport drivers should be eager for Saturday’s qualifying session. Colton Herta won the NTT P1 Award with Alexander Rossi third and now-teammate Romain Grosjean fifth. Grosjean was driving for Dale Coyne Racing with RWR last year.
Herta dominated the weekend last year, earning the widest qualifying margin of the season between the fastest two drivers. His advantage over Scott Dixon was .5492 of a second, and then he led a race-high 39 laps in the 80-lap race before hitting the outside wall in the fast Turn 9 chasing Marcus Ericsson for the lead on Lap 75.
Ericsson, who led 37 laps, went on to score his second victory of the season despite running into Sebastien Bourdais, his car going vertical on the restart at Lap 5 and incurring a drive-through penalty. Chip Ganassi Racing earned the only 1-2 finish by teammates across all races last season in this …….