By: Tanner Watkins
June 6, 2019 | 1:00 PM
With the NTT IndyCar Series rolling into Texas Motor Speedway like a desert tumbleweed this weekend, Felix Rosenqvist has more than a few reasons to perk up for Saturday’s race down south.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver is facing a bit of adversity after crashing out in two of the last three races, including the Indianapolis 500. With that being said, the speedy Swede still has five top-10 finishes and 2019 and was just a step off the podium in St. Petersburg and Belle Isle.
As the focus shifts back to oval racing following a doubleheader on Detroit’s street course, the 27-year-old is excited to put his experience from the Month of May plus an early-spring test to work in Fort Worth this weekend.
“I actually did my very first INDYCAR oval test at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this year, so it’s one of the tracks I do know,” said Rosenqvist. “And it’s right in NTT DATA’s backyard in Plano, Texas – so a home race for them.
“Adding the full month of May experience at Indianapolis, I have a much better feeling for the ovals now, so it will be interesting to see how that reflects out on track this weekend.”
At the Indianapolis 500, Rosenqvist led six laps and was safely inside the top-15 when he was involved in a Lap 177 accident. The freshman IndyCar driver will glean some confidence from his Indiana run, but Rosenqvist knows that racing at Texas is a different ballgame than at the 2.5-mile oval in Indy.
“Having said that, I think we can expect a very different kind of race to what we had in Indy,” Rosenqvist noted.
“Texas normally seems to produce closer pack racing with lots of overtaking, and I hear the tires can go off massively around there. Strategy, and making it through traffic, should be key factors for success this weekend.”
There have some highs and lows along the way for Rosenqvist, and while Chip Ganassi will show some patience for a driver figuring things out during a rookie year, the boss has little patience for damaged equipment. The accident at Indianapolis was not his fault, but Rosenqvist pushed too hard an made his own mistake at Detroit.
“Even if I have had some highlights this year, it’s probably been the worst start of a season I’ve ever had,” Rosenqvist said on Twitter earlier this week.
“It’s always easy to blame things in this sport, but the only thing I can change is myself going forward to the remaining nine races. Tough times are what defines us!”
If Felix can just take a deep breath and tidy things up for the second half of the season, Rosenqvist will be looking at a strong top-10 finish in points and almost certainly a breakthrough podium. Who says that can’t come on Saturday in Texas?
Header image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.