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Felix Rosenqvist claims first career pole in Indy GP qualifying

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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.

Watch the Indy 500 on May 26 on NBC

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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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.