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Rosenqvist: Lots of “little details” have contributed to MSR’s first pole

Written by Archie O’Reilly

Felix Rosenqvist has hailed a combination of “little details” helping him to achieve Meyer Shank Racing (MSR)’s first NTT IndyCar Series pole position in only his second championship event with the team on the streets of Long Beach.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “The team has been behind me. I feel like they believe that I can do it. That makes me believe that I can do it in a way. Everyone’s just on the same page. I’m really proud of them. Obviously we still have that win to get, both for me and the team. They won the 500 in ‘21, my last win was in 2020… we still have that to get that done again.”

Rosenqvist pipped Team Penske’s Will Power to the NTT P1 Award by only 0.0039 seconds, which is the tightest margin between drivers on the front row since the Fast Six format commenced in 2008.

“Honestly it’s a bit unexpected,” Rosenqvist said. “I didn’t think I had it. I had a big moment out of five. I don’t think I lost a lot of time but I was still worried. We finished quite early as well - we were sitting in the car forever waiting. So excited to get it. 

“Just a couple of thousandths in front of Will… means a lot to beat this guy for pole. He’s got a couple under his belt. It’s tight out there. You got to be your best self every lap.”

Rosenqvist admitted he “grew up watching YouTube videos” and onboards of Power and has “spent hours” watching IndyCar’s ‘King of Qualifying’. To be sharing the front row with and beating Power is something a revitalised Rosenqvist is relishing.

The Swede joined MSR with five pole positions to his name - four of which came in the final two of three years at Arrow McLaren. He ended the 2023 season with pole position at Laguna Seca and has carried this form over to MSR, qualifying second in St. Petersburg, first in his group at the Thermal Club and now taking his maiden street course pole. 

“You’re killing it,” Power said to Rosenqvist in a light-spirited post-qualifying press conference. “I think the car must suit your style.”

Rosenqvist concurred: “For sure.”

Rosenqvist is in arguably the most consistent moment of his IndyCar career, taking very little time to get up to speed and find himself running near the front in most sessions with MSR. It is an environment that he is thriving in as a team leader alongside rookie Tom Blomqvist.

“I think it goes both ways,” he said. “I think they’ve taught me a lot. I brought some stuff to them. Obviously I’ve been with two big teams before - there’s some good bits you can bring. We have a tight relationship with Andretti, our technical partner. That's honestly been huge as well, to be able to bounce off ideas between the five drivers that we are with.

“It’s not a big thing - it’s all little details here and there. Just a good direction and a good ability to be able to react to different track conditions and setup changes, which in the end is probably the most that we’re doing back in the truck, trying to get the car as quick as we can.”

Rosenqvist has alluded to it usually taking time to adapt to a new car. But that period of adjustment has been considerably less than may have been anticipated at MSR.

“Everything has gelled pretty quickly,” he said. “I found myself previously, when you have to adapt, it takes a while before you gel with a car. That time has literally been zero this year. Obviously a bit more of me calling the shots this year has worked well. It’s almost surprising how I feel like we’re making the right changes to the car. 

“We follow the track evolution well. We’re really on it on the stand. I think it’s impressive what these guys are doing at Meyer Shank Racing. They just gave me a package to be up there straightaway. Hugely impressive.”

Rosenqvist agreed that it does feel like he has found a spot that fits him perfectly but is ensuring not to get ahead of himself, despite the early success with MSR helping them to respond to a tough 2023.

“You never know tomorrow,” he said. “It’s important to keep your feet on the ground, keep working. There’s so much more we want to do and improve. We just want to focus on ourselves, keep doing what we’re doing. Excited to get to the ovals soon to see how that feels. We’re early days.”


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