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As Formula E season ends, Rosenqvist’s IndyCar buzz heats up

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LEXINGTON, Ohio – It’s not often a guy with less than a full season in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competition gets on the radar as a highly rated potential Verizon IndyCar Series prospect.

Felix Rosenqvist, though, is not your average Indy Lights part-timer.

The Swede just completed his first full season in the FIA Formula E Championship this weekend in Montreal with Mahindra Racing, finishing third in the series with several wins.

But he has also been the subject of intense hype and speculation in the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock, following his second test with Chip Ganassi Racing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course prior to Montreal. This all comes after an impressive partial season in Indy Lights last year with Belardi Auto Racing, when he won three races.

The disclaimer first is that Rosenqvist, who’s become a jack-of-all-trades in the last two years with the variety of series, machinery and continents he’s raced on, will only become a realistic IndyCar prospect if he doesn’t have an existing commitment that comes first. And certainly, one would figure Mahindra to be keen on retaining Rosenqvist’s services for a second season in that championship if possible.

Nonetheless, the chatter is there about Rosenqvist in IndyCar as a true “can’t miss, blue chip” prospect, and the prospect of him racing here is a tantalizing one.

“After I did Indy Lights last year, I told myself that I probably wanted to come back one day,” Rosenqvist told my MST colleague Luke Smith at this weekend’s Formula E finale in Montreal.

“I quite liked it over there, quite a relaxed racing attitude, a bit more friendly than Europe. I said that IndyCar is one of the championships I always really liked.

“It’s a bit like Formula E, you have street circuits, you have normal circuits, you have ovals. It’s like three different championships in the same championships.

“I would say the best driver normally wins the championship. We’ll see what happens. It’s always difficult to say, but it was definitely a good session and hopefully another opportunity for the future.”

Rosenqvist said because of how much Formula E is growing, that it’d be harder to do a complementary program either way, if Formula E or IndyCar was the priority.

“I think both Formula E and IndyCar are getting so big now, you cannot really combine much,” he explained. “I’m lucky this year to be able to do Super Formula on top of Formula E. I think it’s the only championship which doesn’t really clash. I think we are lucky as long as we can do that, but one day I think Formula E drivers will have to commit 100 percent.”

Rosenqvist, who is managed by ex-Formula 1 and IndyCar veteran Stefan Johansson, said it’s “hard to say” whether he could be considered for the IndyCar free agent pool this year, and preferred to focus on Montreal before worrying about his future.

Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull stopped short of saying Rosenqvist would be an ideal teammate for Scott Dixon, also managed by Johansson, next year in IndyCar, but certainly highlighted his ability after his second test.

“First of all he’s a quality guy. He’s grown up in a system of racing where every day counts. You have to get the most out of today,” Hull told NBC Sports at Mid-Ohio.

“I think he represents a lot of young guys that because of the way economy of Formula 1 has changed, they don’t get the opportunity to get to the grid without having money. As an example today, on the Formula E grid, there’s a lot of guys on that grid who should be in F1 today but can’t buy their way in.

“He deserves an opportunity just like a lot of other young guys do. He’s young, aggressive, and has a lot of ability.

“I think he represents the kind of driver that should be driving IndyCars.

“I don’t think it’s fair to single him out and say, ‘hey, that’s the guy we want’ – but we want guys like him driving our race cars.”

Luke Smith contributed to this report

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.