By David Morgan, Associate Editor
FORT WORTH, Texas – Felix Rosenqvist will lead the field to the green in Sunday’s XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway after putting up the fastest lap in qualifying to score the pole position.
The two-lap average of 221.110 mph (46.891 seconds) was enough to boost the Arrow McLaren SP driver to the top of the board just 11 cars into qualifying, where he would outlast the remaining drivers to score his first pole since 2019 and first career pole on an oval.
“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.”
Chevrolet held the hot hand in qualifying with another driver sporting a bowtie, Scott McLaughlin, joining Rosenqvist on the front row. As the last car to take time, the winner from three weeks ago at St. Pete provided the biggest challenge to Rosenqvist’s stronghold on the pole, but he would fall three-thousandths of a second short of accomplishing that feat.
“Oh, man, should have gone for a leak,” McLaughlin joked after coming agonizingly close to the pole. “You never know. No, sorry. I shouldn’t say that. That’s not very Penske.
“No, I certainly felt I had a little bit of scrub off turn one and two on that last lap, and that potentially — it may have cost me a little bit, scrubbed a little bit of speed there. I knew it, so on three and four I was like, oh, I’m making a little bit of a weight jack adjustment and bars, but then I looked at the score and I was, like, 209.9 at the end. That might not be enough, and then sure enough they said P2.
“Like I said, great job for Team Chevy to have a front row. I think it’s three in the top four, so it’s leaps and bounds, and we’re getting ready for Indy now.”
Takuma Sato was the fastest Honda, starting in third-place, followed by Will Power in fourth, and Scott Dixon in fifth.
The remainder of the top-10 went to Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden, Rinus VeeKay, Colton Herta, and Pato O’Ward rounding out the top-10 starters.
With the field now set, drivers will have one final chance to dial in their cars for the race, as a one-hour practice session awaits at 5:45 pm ET. The practice will be preceded by a half-hour of on-track time for 10 cars, who will attempt to work in the PJ1 stained high lane in the turns.
Sunday’s running of the XPEL 375 is scheduled for 12:30 pm ET on NBC and Peacock.