LEXINGTON, OHIO (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing rookie driver Felix Rosenqvist gave IndyCar fans a glimpse of his talent the first time he hit the track at the season-opening race at St. Petersburg by posting the fastest time in the first practice session.
Those talents were on full display on Sunday when Rosenqvist nearly beat his five-time IndyCar Series Champion teammate Scott Dixon for the victory at Mid-Ohio. The closest margin of victory, 0.0934-seconds, in the history of IndyCar at the track.
“That last lap, I think everyone really enjoyed that,” said Rosenqvist. “We were banging wheels in Turn 2 there, (it) was a bit exciting.”
“If I wasn’t his teammate, I think he would have knocked me off,” said Dixon. “I knew he was going to come in deep there. I thought he was actually going to just wait to get a good exit off of 2, and ultimately I think had he been a little more patient there, I think he would have got me probably going into 4.”
“I think we have to keep the perspective,” said Rosenqvist. “Had our first podium and also a one-two finish for Chip Ganassi Racing.”
Rosenqvist qualified sixth for the race, two spots in front of his teammate. The young Swede worked his way up to third by lap 15 and passed Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Ross for 2ndplace on lap 19.
Rosenqvist passed leader and pole sitter Will Power on lap 24 and led laps 25-27 before coming in for his first pit stop on lap 28.
Rosenqvist moved back into the lead on lap 41 during the next round of green flag pit stops and led through lap 45 before coming to pit road for his second pit stop of the day.
Dixon inherited the lead at that point until he came to pit road on lap 60, giving the lead back to Rosenqvist, who led laps 60-66.
Rosenqvist made his third and final stop on lap 66 giving the lead back to Dixon, who was on 2-stop strategy.
Rosenqvist came out in second place with a number of lap cars between he and Dixon and was told by his team go for the lead but to keep in mind Dixon is in the championship hunt.
“A bit of a mixed message,” laughed Rosenqvist.
Rosenqvist put the pedal down and cut Dixon’s lead from 9.7-seconds to 2.7-seconds in 15-laps and knows he could’ve got there quicker if not for lap traffic holding him up.
“With those five cars in front of us it was going to be difficult, and I was really frustrated on the radio,” said Rosenqvist. “Barry (Wanser), my strategist, tried to really keep me calm and (we) tried to pick them off one by one. I think it’s a little bit of a shame because maybe at times we were missing out on a good battle when you had to race cars that were going for P24.”
Rosenqvist finally got to Dixon on the last lap and the two touched in Turn 2 but the veteran prevailed, and the team brought home their first 1-2 finish since 2015 at Texas Motor Speedway.
“Obviously it’s tough when I think we really had the right strategy and the pace to win the race,” said Rosenqvist. “Maybe one more lap we could have got him.”