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Felix Rosenqvist Continues Fight For IndyCar Future In Detroit

Felix Rosenqvist is under lots of pressure to get strong results if he wants to be awarded a new contract from Arrow McLaren SP. (Photo: James Black | Penske Entertainment)

With Arrow McLaren SP planning to expand to three full-time Chevrolets in 2023 and already confirming two of its drivers recently, Felix Rosenqvist’s future in the NTT IndyCar Series is currently up in the air.

In the days leading up to the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle Park, it was announced that Alexander Rossi would leave Andretti Autosport and join Arrow McLaren SP in 2023. This announcement came after Pato O’Ward re-signed with the organization through the end of the 2025 season.

When speaking to members of the media while introducing Rossi before the race weekend in the Motor City, Arrow McLaren SP Team President Taylor Kiel said Rosenqvist is doing everything he needs to do to retain his seat for next year.

His weekend in Detroit didn’t get off to a good start. In the first practice, he crashed into the tire barriers entering Turn 1. Then, he was penalized for impeding Jimmie Johnson’s qualifying run. Therefore, Rosenqvist lost his fastest lap times and was forced to start from the final row on the grid in 25th-place.

Despite running an almost caution-free race until Rinus VeeKay stuffed his No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet into the tires on the final lap at Belle Isle, Rosenqvist completed a spectacular Detroit Sunday drive as the Swede went from 25th to 10th-place at the end of the day.

This was another much needed result for a driver trying to prove that he should be a part of next year’s three-driver lineup with O’Ward and Rossi.

“I thought it was a good drive,” Rosenqvist said. “15 places up with no yellows at all, that’s a solid day for the team. Car was quick in warm-up, quick in the race, the only way we could go was forward. Good fun. Kind of reminded me a bit of the go-kart days.

“I had a lot of fun wheel-to-wheel action with some of the guys and girls out there. Really, really good fun. I think we said before the race if we can finish top-10, we’re happy with the day and we just got that. Move on to Road America.”

Coming from the last row to the top-10 at a street circuit, Felix Rosenqvist is trying to prove that he belongs in Arrow McLaren SP’s 2023 IndyCar driver lineup with Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi. (Photo: Karl Zemlin | Penske Entertainment)

After spending the first two years of his IndyCar career with Chip Ganassi Racing, Rosenqvist moved over to McLaren’s IndyCar operation in 2021. While his teammate O’Ward was in contention for the championship, Rosenqvist struggled to put together full races and couldn’t match O’Ward’s results.

Rosenqvist missed two races last season after he was injured in a frightening crash in the first race at Belle Isle. He didn’t compete in the second Belle Isle race on the doubleheader weekend and missed the following race at Road America. This dropped him to 21st in the final 2021 season standings.

In the first four races of the 2022 IndyCar season, Rosenqvist’s best result was 11th-place in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Meanwhile, O’Ward got a top-five at Long Beach and won the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.

One significant highlight of Rosenqvist’s season so far was taking pole position at 1.5-mile high-banked oval at Texas Motor Speedway. However, the race didn’t go as planned because something broke on the No. 7 Chevrolet and he was forced to retire from the event, settling for a disappointing 21st-place finish.

Winning the pole at Texas Motor Speedway in March 2022 was a huge shot in the arm for Felix Rosenqvist and a sign of things to come for the No. 7 Chevrolet. (Photo: Luis Torres | The Podium Finish)

Rosenqvist started to make some major gains beginning with the GMR Grand Prix at the IMS Road Course. He finished sixth in this event and carried the positive vibes into the 106th Indianapolis 500. Both full-time Arrow McLaren SP entries earned a pair of top-fives in the 500-mile crown jewel race, with Rosenqvist finishing in fourth.

Now, the 10th-place finish in Detroit becomes Rosenqvist’s third consecutive top-10 as he starts building more momentum heading into Road America the following weekend. His one and only IndyCar win came at Road America in 2020.

The 30-year-old Swede’s been in the game long enough to understand this is a “what have you done for me lately” type of business. It’s never comforting for a driver when you’re the only one without a contract right now within the team.

To say the least, Rosenqvist is a driver with something to prove and he’s building his case for his next IndyCar contract.

Kobe Lambeth is a 2021 graduate of UNC Charlotte, who earned his undergraduate degree in Communication Studies (mass media concentration), with a double minor in Journalism and American Studies. In February 2007, he initially developed a strong passion for motorsports. His childhood dream is to work in the motorsports industry for a long time. In June 2017, his journey began as a freelance journalist and social media specialist for RockinghamNow, covering high school sports and leading a Twitter project. He was a part of expanded coverage of high school football within his local community. Through the use of Twitter, his team had a goal of significantly increasing the number of followers on multiple accounts. At The Podium Finish, he intends to provide professional motorsports coverage, focusing on series such as the NASCAR Cup Series, NTT IndyCar Series and more. He's also a Multimedia Producer at GRID Network.

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