Felix Rosenqvist captured his second pole position of the season on Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, and it was the gap to Alexander Rossi that stood out as the most remarkable aspect of the Arrow McLaren SP driver’s achievement.
Rosenqvist’s No. 7 Chevy toured the circuit in 1m10.2265s, more than a quarter-second ahead of Rossi’s No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda (0.2765s) in the IndyCar equivalent of a lap time blowout. AMSP teammate Pato O’Ward was third in his No. 5 Chevy (0.3827s) and had the Team Penske duo of Will Power in the No. 12 Chevy (0.3959) and Josef Newgarden in the No. 2 Chevy (0.4703s) behind him in fourth and fifth. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s high-achieving rookie Christian Lundgaard completed the Firestone Fast Six in the No. 30 Honda (0.5015s).
“Our Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet was unbelievable; it was on rails all day and I felt so calm in the car,” Rosenqvist said. “I think I knew when I did that lap that it was the one. Big thanks to the team for giving me a really good car. I think the car is more suited to me this year so I can maximize it everywhere we go.”
Outside of the top six, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou was seventh as his team was laden with struggles in qualifying, with three of CGR’s four drivers failing to make the Fast 12. Starting with Jimmie Johnson being dropped in the first round, Scott Dixon was next in the second round, citing confusion on when he was sent out — amid traffic — by his team and a lack of front wing being added when Firestone’s alternate tires were bolted on. Compounding items left the No. 9 Honda with a P20 starting position.
“It was a complete mess,” a displeased Dixon said before mentioning he felt the mistakes made the team look like amateurs.
Championship leader Marcus Ericsson had the worst time within the team. The second round of qualifying got off to an unfortunate start for the Swede whose car rolled to a stop on his out-lap. A bewildered Ericsson climbed from the car and after failing to post a lap, he would be relegated to the last row and P25 for the start of the 85-lap contest.
Ongoing problems with the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda followed Romain Grosjean from practice to qualifying, with lingering brake issues among the items that were mentioned. “We can’t keep going like this,” Grosjean said to his team after learning he’s start P22.
The RLLR team saw Lundgaard break into the Fast 12 and then the Fast Six, but the other two members of the squad in Jack Harvey (P13) and Graham Rahal (P17) were disappointed with their lack of pace.
“I think all of us expected to be as quick as Christian,” Rahal said.
UP NEXT: Warmup, Saturday, 8:15 a.m. ET