Felix Rosenqvist claims first career pole in Indy GP qualifying

Chris Owens / IndyCar
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It will be an all-Chip Ganassi Racing front row for Saturday’s IndyCar Grand Prix, as rookie Felix Rosenqvist scored his first IndyCar pole position Friday afternoon.

The driver of the No. 10 NTT Data Honda set the fastest lap of the session with an elapsed time of 1 minute, 8.2785 seconds.

“The first two laps, I didn’t really feel like I had a (tire) grip, and then the final lap, there was something switching on and I was like, ‘OK, this could be good,” Rosenqvist told NBCSN. “But honest, I didn’t think it was going to be (fast enough). It’s so tight. I looked up at the screen, and we were P1. I just prayed it was going to hold ’til the end.”

Rosenqvist’s first career pole comes in just his fifth start. With the past four winners of this race starting from the pole, Rosenqvist put himself in good position to claim his first series victory Saturday.

Scott Dixon (1 minute, 8.2979 seconds) will start alongside Rosenqvist in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda, with Jack Harvey (1 minute, 8.3238 seconds) starting third after making his first career Firestone Fast Six appearance.

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Will Power, whose three victories in the IndyCar GP have all come from pole position, was unable to capture his fourth pole on the 2.439-mile road course and will start sixth, his worst IndyCar GP start since 2016.

“I think we’ve just back foot all day honestly,” Power told NBCSN. “The lap I did to get into the Fast Six was just a neat, neat lap on a right time on the tires. It’s killing me to only be P6! But it’s so competitive, man. [If] you’re a little bit out of the window, you’re going to struggle.”

In a surprising first round of qualifying, both series points leader Josef Newgarden and Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi were not fast enough to advance. Newgarden qualified 13th, and Rossi was 17th.

Click here for full qualification results.

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Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.