MONTEREY, CA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist is looking to win the NTT IndyCar Series Rookie-Of-The-Year title at this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Rosenqvist, 27, leads Dale Coyne Racing’s Santino Ferrucci by 26-points and Harding Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta by 49-points in the rookie standing going into this weekend.
“It’s cool that there is a battle going on between Santino, Colton and I for Laguna,” said Rosenqvist. “I think Colton and I have had similar years where it took off a bit too fast, and then the reality of IndyCar struck us, and a change of approach was needed. I have definitely calmed down during the year, trying to take what’s there every weekend instead of forcing myself into errors trying to go for the top spot at any cost.”
Rosenqvist has earned the top spot in the rookie standings by virtue of nine top-10 finishes, which include five top-5 finishes. Rosenqvist currently sits eighth in the overall Championship standings.
“The speed has been there from the start, but it’s just so much more needed to take the points every weekend,” said Rosenqvist. “Speed alone will not give you success in this championship. Having raced all over the planet, I would say that IndyCar is the toughest beast yet to master for me.”
Rosenqvist is looking forward to racing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The Swede’s best performances this season have been on the permanent road courses. Rosenqvist has reeled off five consecutive top-10 finishes on the road courses including two runner-up finishes at Portland and Mid-Ohio.
“I’ve been on quite a streak on the road courses lately and I feel hungry for that first win and Laguna would be just the right place to get it done,” said Rosenqvist.
Rosenqvist is looking to become the first rookie of the year for CGR since Juan Pablo Montoya won the award in 1999, and fourth overall. Alex Zanardi (1996) and Eddie Cheever (1990) were the other winners for CGR.
“Being with Chip Ganassi Racing for my rookie season has been more helpful than anything,” said Rosenqvist. “The team has given me access to everything in order to become ready to win races. I think the field is so tight these days that literally anyone can be fast, but what CGR does differently is getting all the details right, and that’s why they normally come out on top.”
Track action gets underway on Thursday with a full-day test session from 12:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET. There will be two 45-minute practice sessions on Friday: 1:30 p.m. ET and 5:10 p.m. ET, a practice on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. ET and Firestone Fast Six Qualifying at 4:30 p.m.
Sunday’s 90-lap, 203.22-mile race will be televised live on NBC beginning with a pre-race show at 2:30 p.m. ET and the green flag waving at 3:15 p.m. The race can be heard on the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (XM 205, Sirius 98).