By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
MADISON, Ill. — Back without skipping a beat is the current NTT IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year points leader Felix Rosenqvist, who’s had a whirlwind couple of days since his horrific crash at Pocono Raceway, which saw him hit the Turn 2 fence.
Despite all the buzz on his condition, he was in absolute good spirits Friday after qualifying 10th for tomorrow’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.
The Swede commented that he’s moved on from the opening lap crash, knowing the ordeal was out of his own doing.
“It’s not too bad because the hit wasn’t my fault,” Rosenqvist said. “I was kind of a passenger in that whole thing and that’s why I didn’t really messed up my confidence. It’s different if you crashed on your own mistake than all sorts of things start going through your head. I feel good and it’s cool to be back in a good rhythm.”
Part of the good rhythm he’s been carrying is a brand new mean livery as Monster Energy has climbed aboard the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda for this race.
The energy drink company has connections with CGR as it sponsors NASCAR driver Kurt Busch’s ride. Rosenqvist hopes to put on a great showing in the 248-lap race and see if it’ll lead to something bigger in the world of Indy car racing.
“It was pretty cool coming back to that after a rough last weekend at Pocono. I think we did a solid job,” Rosenqvist said. “It’s nice that they want to work with us. They’re currently working with Ganassi in NASCAR and Kurt Busch’s car.
“It’s cool that they’ve extended to IndyCar and will see what happens in the future. Hopefully we can have a good run here this weekend and gives them the right taste for IndyCar.”
Rosenqvist’s 10th place effort marked his second top-10 oval start as his only previous feat was the last round at Pocono, where he qualified ninth.
The biggest highlight of qualifying was several drivers ahead of Rosenqvist dealing with some oil in Turn 1. The stellar rookie, who was the 14th car to qualify, wasn’t terribly affected by it after trying to ignore the issue in order to put up two solid laps for a competent speed average.
“It always messes you up a little bit. I think if you kind of try ignoring the oil, it wasn’t too bad,” Rosenqvist said. “Also, the first couple of guys probably had a bigger problem getting through there than when I ran. It was pretty clean then. I still saw it and messes with the head a little bit. I try to keep it somewhat safe and was probably a little more in it.”
Live coverage of the 248-lap race will begin at 8:00 pm EST on NBCSN. Rosenqvist is currently ninth in points, 13 markers ahead Santino Ferrucci, who qualified a career-high sixth, for top rookie honors.