Paddock Buzz: Rosenqvist’s Summer Audition Stays Strong – INDYCAR
Amid the long shadow of Scott Dixon winning the Honda Indy Toronto to tie Mario Andretti for second place on INDYCAR’s all-time wins list, with 52 each, the drive of Dixon’s former Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Felix Rosenqvist, shined.
Rosenqvist used a bump-and-run pass on Alexander Rossi on Lap 45 to finish a season-best third, which he hopes secures him a ride next season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
Rosenqvist already knows he will drive for McLaren Racing, but it has not been determined if he will stay in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES or return to Formula E, where he was a race winner in the 2017-2018 season.
In recent weeks, McLaren Racing has announced the signings of Rossi, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner, and reigning series champion Alex Palou while retaining Pato O’Ward. The wild card in the matter is the status of Palou, whom Chip Ganassi Racing has also staked claim to for 2023.
“Yeah, I think this weekend hopefully makes (team officials) doubt some things,” Rosenqvist said. “It’s still a long way to go in the year, but as I said, each race we keep getting better and better. This is the trajectory I want to be on, and I’m so excited for the rest of the season.”
Rosenqvist has finished in the top 10 of five of the past six races. Sunday’s podium at Exhibition Place was his first top-three finish as an Arrow McLaren SP driver.
Graham Rahal, who finished fourth in the No. 15 United Rentals Honda of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, said Rosenqvist has nothing to prove to anyone.
“The guy’s an exceptional talent,” Rahal said. “He belongs in INDYCAR racing, and I hope he finds a spot. I know if we had room at the inn (at RLLR), I’d be pushing for him (to be hired).”
Rosenqvist was on the charge throughout the 85-lap race after starting eighth. But the pass that will be debated came on Rossi as they drove through Turn 3 in a fight for third position. Rosenqvist got inside Rossi, and they bumped as they climbed the hill toward Turn 4. Rossi lost the grip on his steering wheel, and the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda of Andretti Autosport hit the left-side wall, ending his race.
“It wasn’t big,” Rosenqvist said of the contact. “He’s also staying on the outside.”
The Swede went on to say Rossi was more to blame, although neither driver was penalized.
Rossi clearly wasn’t pleased with the incident, but he stopped short of criticizing a driver that he will work with in some form in 2023.
Rahal: Fourth ‘Feels Like a Win’
Rahal certainly was pleased with a fourth-place finish after what has been a difficult season for the organization his father co-owns. His previous best finish this season was a pair of sevenths (in St. Petersburg and Long Beach).
“(Fourth) feels like a win, particularly today I don’t think it was given,” Rahal said.
Indeed, Rahal started 14th after he failed to advance out of the first round of Saturday’s qualifying even as it seemed he had a car capable of moving on.
Rahal praised his team for staying committed to the process.
“When you’re down in the dumps like (our team) has been and you get abused like we have been all …….