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Rosenqvist grabs pole for XPEL 375 IndyCar race at Texas Motor Speedway

by Mike Haag | Posted on Saturday, March 19th, 2022

By Mike Haag

Raceday San Antonio

FORT WORTH, Texas – Felix Rosenqvist won the NTT P1 Award for Sunday’s XPEL 375 NTT IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

March 19, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; NTT IndyCar Series driver Felix Rosenqvist (7), Arrow McLaren SP in practice session #2 for the XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway. Michael C. Johnson

The Swedish driver scored his second career pole after completing a two-lap average speed of 221.110 mph in the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. It was his first pole on an oval.  He won his first-ever pole during his rookie season in May 2019 at the INDYCAR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“This is huge for the team and myself,” Rosenqvist said. “A big confidence boost. A big comeback after some tough times. I’m really pleased for everyone on my team to get this result.”

Rosenqvist will be one of 27 drivers who will compete Sunday in the XPEL 375 at TMS. The 248-lap race on the 1.5-mile banked oval starts at 11:30 p.m. with live coverage on NBC.

Scott McLaughlin, the series points leader and winner of the season opener at St. Petersburg, Fla., was second fastest with a two-lap average speed of 221.096 in his No. 3 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet.

Felix Rosenqvist. Photo courtesy of the NTT IndyCar Series

“There were so many guys close to me,” Rosenqvist said. “There were a couple of guys within thousandths. Big thanks to Arrow McLaren SP, Chevy, Vuse.  I knew that lap was pretty much as good as I could have made it.  It was just so hard to wait for so long to get it.”

Rosenqvist added, “This is huge for the team and for myself as far as a big confidence boost. Big comeback after some tough times.  I am really pleased for everyone on my team to get this result. It’s awesome. So now we will just switch focus to the race and see what we can do.”

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato will start third after having an average speed of 221.094 in the No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda. Will Power, the 2014 series champion, qualified fourth at 221.016 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, and five-time Texas winner Scott Dixon was fifth at 221.011 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Felix Rosenqvist. Photo courtesy of the NTT IndyCar Series

Rounding out the top 10 in qualifying were Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden, Rinus VeeKay, Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who competed only on road and street courses in 2021 as a rookie, will be making his first oval start in his No. 48 Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. He will start on the ninth row after qualifying 18th at 219.865.

March 19, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; NTT IndyCar Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48), Chip Ganassi Racing in practice session #2 for the XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway. Michael C. Johnson

“I think we’re being very measured in how we’re working me into qualifying and working me into a car that’s more trimmed out and a bit more neutral,” Johnson said. “But all is good so far, and it’s certainly been a fun morning and afternoon getting these laps in at Texas Motor Speedway.

“When I rolled off in the Carvana Honda (for qualifying), my heart rate was definitely elevated. I didn’t know what to expect. I kind of went off the confidence level of my teammates. They knew my trim settings, and they said, ‘Yeah, you should be able to go flat,’ so I just took their word and made a promise to myself not to lift my right foot up.”

Notes:

  • Simon Pagenaud was fastest during the morning practice session with a run of 23.2376 seconds at 223.087 mph in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda. Rosenqvist was second, Herta third, series rookie Callum Ilott was fourth and McLaughlin fifth.
  • Late Saturday afternoon, INDYCAR allowed seven race teams an additional 30 minutes of practice to run the upper racing lane in an effort to lay down additional tire rubber to help provide a second racing lane for Sunday’s race. Ed Carpenter, Castroneves, O’Ward, Will Power, Graham Rahal, Rosenqvist and Sato participated in the one-hour session.
  • Veteran Jack Harvey was unhurt in the only incident in final practice after he hit the SAFER Barrier while exiting Turn 2 in his No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda. He then made hard contact with the inside wall on the backstretch, which resulted in heavy damage to the left-side of his car.
About the Author

Mike Haag has covered motorsports in San Antonio and South Texas for more than 34 years. In addition to covering motorsports for the San Antonio Express-News for nearly 28 years, Mike also has co-hosted TrackSmack with Dawn Murphy for 17 race seasons. In addition to being a writer, Mike taught high school English and Journalism for 30 years before retiring in May, 2020.