FORT WORTH, Texas — Felix Rosenqvist will lead the starting lineup of an NTT IndyCar Series oval race to the green flag for the first time.
The Arrow McLaren SP driver qualified first Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway with a 221.110 mph two-lap average in his No. 7 Dallara-Chevrolet around the 1.5-mile oval, nipping Scott McLaughlin by 0.003 seconds.
It was the first pole position since the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in May 2019 for Rosenqvist, who had to endure a wait nearly as agonizing Saturday. After being the 11th driver to make a qualifying attempt, Rosenqvist finally was confirmed as the session’s fastest when McLaughlin completed his two laps as the 27th and final driver.
TEXAS QUALIFYING: Click here for speeds from Saturday’s session
“It was a bit of a torture to watch that thing unfold,” said Roseqnvist, who is coming off a disappointing winless 2021 season after breaking through for his first victory in ’20. “It feels really good. I think for the whole Arrow McLaren SP Team and the 7 car in general, it couldn’t have been better timing to get this pole.
“It was just so hard to wait for so long to get it. 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.”
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The confidence kept building for Team Penske’s McLaughlin, who became IndyCar’s newest first-time winner last month by winning from the pole in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The No. 3 Dallara-Chevrolet driver will start second at a track where he placed second last year — his best finish of a rookie season in which he had no other top 10s.
“I think there’s momentum and also self-belief and believing that you guys can do it as a squad, guys and girls,” he said. “We believed we could pop out a result here and there and be strong, but the way that St. Pete went for us was fantastic. Certainly when you have that confidence early, it’s a fantastic thing, but now it’s all about keeping that going, and, yeah, I believe the momentum is that. Even if we did qualify a little bit further down, I still think we would have rolled into (Sunday’s) race feeling pretty good.
“It’s a good vibe on the team, and I put that down to (engineer) Benny Bretzman. He is such a great team leader, great for the camaraderie between the guys and girls on the team. He puts a lot of confidence in me and my ability. That certainly is a momentum-builder for all.”
Here’s the IndyCar starting lineup for Sunday’s XPEL 375 at the 1.5-mile oval at Texas Motor Speedway (qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, speed):
1. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Dallara-Chevrolet, 221.110 mph
2. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Dallara-Chevrolet, 221.096
3. (51) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 221.094
4. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevrolet, 221.016
5. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 221.011
6. (06) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 220.768
7. (2) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Chevrolet, 220.758
8. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Dallara-Chevrolet, 220.748
9. (26) Colton Herta, Dallara-Honda, 220.602
10. (5) Pato O’Ward, Dallara-Chevrolet, 220.579
11. (10) Alex Palou, Dallara-Honda, 220.571
12. (27) Alexander Rossi, Dallara-Honda, 220.458
13. (28) Romain Grosjean, Dallara-Honda, 220.412
14. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Dallara-Honda, 220.364
15. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 220.338
16. (20) Conor Daly, Dallara-Chevrolet, 219.987
17. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Dallara-Honda, 219.888
18. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Dallara-Honda, 219.865
19. (18) David Malukas, Dallara-Honda, 219.864
20. (77) Callum Ilott, Dallara-Chevrolet, 219.462
21. (33) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 219.212
22. (4) Dalton Kellett, Dallara-Chevrolet, 219.038
23. (14) Kyle Kirkwood, Dallara-Chevrolet, 219.013
24. (45) Jack Harvey, Dallara-Honda, 218.781
25. (30) Christian Lundgaard, Dallara-Honda, 218.687
26. (11) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevrolet, 218.584
27. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 218.410