Good things come to those who wait and Felix Rosenqvist had to wait a torturous amount of time in qualifying before finally being able to celebrate winning the pole for the XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway.
The 30-year-old Swede was the 11th of 27 drivers to go out on the daunting 1.5-mile oval, and put down a two-lap average at 221.110 mph in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
Waiting for each rival to fall, the biggest challenge for the top spot came at the end with Scott McLaughlin. The driver of the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet was the last driver to take to the track and was right on the cusp of knocking Rosenqvist off, but managed to fall just shy at 221.096 mph (+0.0030s).
“It was a bit of a torture to watch that thing unfold, and, yeah, it was two really good laps,” Rosenqvist said. “I kind of felt already this morning, to be honest, you felt that the car was in the window. There wasn’t much balance changes needed, and it was the same thing during the qualifying laps. It was just kind of like in the zone where you wanted it.
“The first lap was a bit loose, and the second lap was a bit under-steered, but you’re never going to get it right. Yeah, it was good. 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’s a good boost mentally for all the guys and girls working on the car, and I think everyone just showed today that we refocused and came back. A little bit of a disappointment in St. Pete and, obviously, last year, but coming back here just fully focused and doing our own thing and putting the car on pole is really amazing.”
It marks the second career IndyCar pole for Rosenvist, first since 2019 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
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Behind the front row of Rosenqvist and McLaughlin, the rest of the five was led Takuma Sato, Will Power and Scott Dixon.
Reigning and four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves put in a strong sixth-place effort in his first non-Indy 500 oval in the No. 06 Meyer Shank Racing Honda. The 46-year-old Brazilian finished was followed by Josef Newgarden and Rinus Veekay, with Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward – last year’s race winner – rounding out the top 10.
Romain Grosjean ended up 13th, while Jimmie Johnson qualified 18th in his first-ever oval IndyCar weekend.
Up Next: Final practice at 5:45 p.m. ET on Peacock and the IndyCar Radio Network.