Race Weekend Central

Felix Rosenqvist Impresses on Meyer Shank Debut, Qualifies 2nd at St. Petersburg

Felix Rosenqvist‘s new working environment has paid dividends as the Swede qualified second fastest for Sunday’s (March 10) Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg that kicks off the 2024 NTT IndyCar Series season.

Rosenqvist went around the 14-turn, 1.8-mile street circuit in 59.5772 seconds to average 108.766 mph in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda. That lap was just 0.0058 seconds slower than Josef Newgarden‘s pole-winning lap.

“It’s been an incredible start to us, honestly,” Rosenqvist said after qualfying. “We don’t want to get carried away, obviously the race is a different challenge but we had a feeling from practice, rolling off the truck and that’s great. It’s not often you have that, especially on your first weekend with a new team, so big thanks to everyone.”

To get to the final round, Rosenqvist had to make it through two rounds of knockout qualifying. After posting the third fastest time in his group in the first round, the two-time Macau Grand Prix winner set the fastest time in the second round with a new track record lap of 59.2706 seconds (109.329 mph).

That lap put Rosenqvist in the Firestone Fast Six where he out-qualified Pato O’Ward, Colton Herta, Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson.

Rosenqvist’s performance comes after a total reset for both driver and team. After spending the last few seasons with Arrow McLaren, Rosenqvist made the move to Meyer Shank Racing. The pairing performed well at pre-season testing and expectations were high heading to the season opener.

“I think it’s a big boost for the whole team,” Rosenqvist said of his performance. “I think when we came here this week and I could tell that people were hesitant to believe that we were as quick as we were in testing, but after [Friday practice] everyone is like a big relief. We’re in it. We’re good.

“Actually, honestly Mike [Shank] and I have been talking, and we’ve been talking mostly about race craft because I think that’s probably more a personal thing with me. I’ve been generally strong in qualifying, but I think race craft is something that I want to improve.

See also
Josef Newgarden Opens 2024 With Pole in St. Petersburg

“We’ve been focusing more on that. We thought that if we put everything together, we should be good in qualifying. Especially here. It’s a package that we know pretty well. I’m normally pretty good here.”

Rosenqvist has every right to be confident about his St. Petersburg pace. In his IndyCar debut in 2019, the Swede qualified third and finished fourth after leading 31 laps. Although his St. Petersburg finishes since that race have not been that high, there is reason for optimism with a new team in Meyer Shank Racing.

The Pataskala, Ohio-based squad made a complete refresh in the offseason, adding Helio Castroneves as a minority owner and 2022 IMSA GTP class co-champion Tom Blomqvist as their new second driver. Blomqvist qualified 17th out of 27 cars in his St. Petersburg debut.

After a 30-minute warmup at 9:10 a.m. ET, the 100-lap race will air live Sunday on NBC at 12 p.m. ET.

About the author

Christopher DeHarde has covered IndyCar racing and the Road to Indy for various outlets since 2014. In addition to open wheel racing, DeHarde has also covered IMSA and various short track racing events around Indiana. Originally from New Orleans, DeHarde moved to the Indianapolis area in 2017 to further pursue a career as a motorsports writer.

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