He was eighth. He was 27th. He was fourth. And he was ninth.
Felix Rosenqvist covered a ton of ground on Sunday at the Barber Motorsports Pak NTT IndyCar Series race in his No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevy after tipping himself into a spin just seconds after the 90-lap contest got under way.
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Starting eighth, Rosenqvist charged into Turn 1, fired up the hill towards the cresting right-hand corner and had Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden running in close proximity on his outside, and with a slightly late application of the brakes, the No. 6 make contact with Newgarden and went for a spin.
The price he paid was a loss of 19 positions and a need to fight back from 27th and last in the field. Originally set for a two-stop run that would have required extensive fuel saving, Rosenqvist was switched to a flat-out three-stop plan to give the Swede a better chance of chasing down slower cars and getting back to where he started the race. He rose to the challenge and came within one spot of where his race started.
“That was a really strong race,” Rosenqvist said after placing ninth at the finish. “I’m sorry about the contact with Josef on lap one – I braked too late into Turn 2, so that was on me. It obviously screwed us in the beginning as we came out in last, but it set up a really fun first two stints, passing a lot of cars and running in clear air. The 6 car was on rails.
“The way the race turned out, changing to a three-stopper proved the right way to go. Thanks to the team on pit wall for being so flexible on strategy. The only thing that went against us was a mid-race caution; without that it could have been a top five as the two-stoppers would have really struggled on fuel. Still, it’s a great recovery, and a solid day for the entire team as we move into the month of May.”