MONTEREY, Calif – With a fifth place finish in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca, Felix Rosenqvist clinched the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year award, a title he ironically won by a margin of five points over Colton Herta,
It was all smiles on pit road for the 27-year-old Swede following the race, as Rosenqvist was immediately greeted by a sea of congratulations from his car owner Chip Ganassi, mentor Dario Franchitti and several members of his pit crew. He was the first Chip Ganassi Racing driver to win the title since Juan Pablo Montoya in 1999.
“It was a hell of a year,” Rosenqvist told reporters following the race. “My Chip Ganassi NTT DATA crew has just been flawless all season, especially the pit crew.
“They’ve just never done any mistakes, just a few slip-ups, but I think we had the most solid crew of anyone this year, and I think they deserve this sixth finish in the championship and Rookie of the Year.”
For Rosenqvist, the great finish helped end the weekend on a high note, as Rosenqvist was anything but happy following qualifying a day prior.
Rosenqvist failed to advance from Round 1 qualifying Saturday afternoon after INDYCAR officials disallowed his first two qualifying runs, which greatly angered the normally reserved driver.
“You know, this weekend was our time to sort of end the season on a high, and starting 14th is not normally the way to do that,” Rosenqvist said. “I tried to use that little bit of anger to go forward today.”
And go forward Rosenqvist did. Driving like a man on a mission, he quickly moved his way up the field, evening coming too close to comfort with championship contenders Alexander Rosssi and Simon Pagenaud at times.
Still, Rosenqvist insisted his wild run at Laguna was all a controlled drive.
“You kind of had to be sensible when you had to and aggressive when you had to, and actually made a really interesting race here at Laguna.
“I think everyone enjoyed that, so looking forward to coming back here next year.”