Felix Rosenqvist got his best finish of the year with his second place at the BITNILE.com Grand Prix of Portland on Sunday (Sept. 3).
With a bit of good luck when a yellow fell as he made his last stop, he was able to come out in front of Scott Dixon and hold him off to keep the runner-up postion. It was his second podium finish of the year, besting his third at Detroit in June. It was a welleearned result as he had to end the race with a long stint on the red, alternate tires which degrade quickly.
“Yeah, I think saving [alternate tires] for the end was good, in terms of degradation.” Rosenqvist told NBC. “The track was getting more and more rubbered in, so we thought it would be our play. It obviously a bit risky if you end up in a situation where you’re degrading a lot but I was kind of lucky in the end.
“First of all with a yellow that we just managed to do our stop before, and then also in the end I kind of had a buffer with lapped cars that helped give us a little bit of cushion to Scott in the end. So it kind of worked out our way for the first time in a while.”
The Arrow McLaren team had all three of their cars in the hunt for top 10s early, with Pato O’Ward leading the group. But as pit stop advantages continued to lean towards those who stayed out on the black primary tires as long as possible, Rosenqvist did just that during his third stint. Not only did he leap around teammate O’Ward, but also Dixon, who wasn’t pleased with race control after the yellow for Agustin Canapino’s stalled car so teams could complete their pit cyclesp. This gave the advantage to Rosenqvist, who then had several lapped cars behind him on the restart.
The six-time champion expressed his frustration with NBC after the race. “Indycar keeps doing this,” Dixon said. “I think they are thinking are trying to help people but it actually hurts and affects the outcome of the race.”
Regardless of Dixon’s consternation, Rosenqvist took it in stride and ran with it.
“Yea it was nice to have this result and kind of prove what we can do. The last couple of races have been frustrating and a little bit of a reset here.”
It was a noteworthy finish for the Swede, as his time at McLaren appears to be coming to an end. This is just his third top five this season, and he was mired in 13th in points heading to Portland. His teammates O’Ward and Alexander Rossi, albeit also without wins, are further ahead in the standings – fourth and ninth, respectively – but have been running at the finish more than he has and that may be why the team is moving in another direction. Rosenqvist has five DNFs this year.
NBC reported during the weekend that Meyer Shank Racing may be his next opportunity for 2024. So any positive results will help him follow his goal of staying in IndyCar beyond this season.
However, he gets one more chance to try and win for Arrow McLaren and take some momentum to Laguna Seca next weekend and perhaps find more good luck that leads to victory lane.
About the author
Tom is an IndyCar contributor at Frontstretch, joining in March 2023. He also works full-time for the Department of Veterans Affairs History Office and is a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard. A native Hoosier, he's followed IndyCar closely since 1991. Follow Tom on Twitter @TomBlackburn42.
A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.