Race Weekend Central

Felix Rosenqvist Scores Clutch Pole for IndyCar’s Gallagher Grand Prix

With his IndyCar future uncertain, on Friday (July 29) Arrow McLaren SP’s Felix Rosenqvist put in an incredible lap of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course to score pole position for Saturday’s Gallagher Grand Prix. It is the second pole of the season for the Swedish driver, the third of his career, and his second at the IMS road course. 

Rosenqvist’s time of 1:10.2265, set in the closing seconds of the Firestone Fast Six, put him nearly three-tenths ahead of second-place Alexander Rossi

“I think it helps to do these kind of performances,” Rosenqvist told NBC. “The Arrow McLaren SP Chevy was unbelievable. Big thanks to Velo, Mission, Team Chevy. It was just unreal the whole day. I felt so calm in the car. I think I knew when I did that lap it was the one.”

McLaren’s Pato O’Ward will start third, followed by Team Penske’s Will Power and Josef Newgarden and rookie Christian Lundgaard for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Round One Group One

A clean first round was headed up by Conor Daly for Ed Carpenter Racing. Joining the Indiana native in advancing to the Fast 12 were Newgarden, Power, O’Ward, Lundgaard and Simon Pagenaud.

Round One Group Two

The red flag waved immediately for championship leader Marcus Ericsson, whose No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda coasted to a halt before any drivers had even completed a single flying lap. The Chip Ganassi Racing team shut off Ericsson’s engine remotely to avoid further damage after detecting a problem. Ericsson will face an uphill battle fighting back toward the front tomorrow, starting from dead last.

In the end, Rosenqvist put in the fastest time, with GMR Grand Prix winner Colton Herta, Rinus VeeKay, Palou, Rossi and David Malukas moving on into the Fast 12.

Eliminated in round one was Romain Grosjean, a two-time podium scorer on this layout. 

“We can’t keep going like this,” Grosjean told his Andretti Autosport team over the radio, after qualifying in an eventual 22nd place.

Also out early was six-time champion Scott Dixon, who called his performance, “amateur hour” while speaking to NBC from pit lane. 

Fast Twelve

There were fast laps late from just about everybody, but when the time ran out, it was Power, IndyCar’s best qualifier, on top. Joining him in the final round were Rosenqvist, Newgarden, Rossi, O’Ward and Lundgaard. 

Palou, VeeKay and Herta were the big names eliminated, and will take the green flag sixth, seventh and eighth respectively. 

Fast Six

A clean and competitive session saw the six drivers split by just over half a second, with most of that gap between Rosenqvist and Rossi.

Gallagher Grand Prix Qualifying Results

  1. Felix Rosenqvist
  2. Alexander Rossi
  3. Pato O’Ward
  4. Will Power
  5. Josef Newgarden
  6. Christian Lundgaard
  7. Alex Palou
  8. Rinus VeeKay
  9. Colton Herta
  10. Conor Daly
  11. David Malukas
  12. Simon Pagenaud
  13. Jack Harvey
  14. Devlin DeFrancesco
  15. Scott McLaughlin
  16. Helio Castroneves
  17. Graham Rahal
  18. Takuma Sato
  19. Callum Illott
  20. Scott Dixon
  21. Kyle Kirkwood
  22. Romain Grosjean
  23. Jimmie Johnson
  24. Dalton Kellett
  25. Marcus Ericsson

The NTT IndyCar Series Gallagher Grand Prix from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course airs tomorrow, Saturday July 30, at 12:00 p.m. ET on NBC.

About the author

Jack Swansey primarily covers open-wheel racing for Frontstretch and co-hosts The Pit Straight Podcast, but you can also catch him writing about NASCAR, sports cars, and anything else with four wheels and a motor. Originally from North Carolina and now residing in Los Angeles, he joined the site as Sunday news writer midway through 2022 and is an avid collector (some would say hoarder) of die-cast cars.

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