Amid the long shadow of Scott Dixon winning the Honda Indy Toronto to tie Mario Andretti for second place on INDYCAR’s all-time wins list, with 52 apiece, former teammate Chip Ganassi’s driving Dixon’s racing Felix Rosenqvist shone.
Rosenqvist used a bump and run pass over Alexander Rossi on Lap 45 to finish a season-best third, which he hopes will secure him a race next season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
Rosenqvist already knows he will drive for McLaren Racing, but it has not been determined whether he will stay in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES #7 Chevrolet Arrow McLaren SP or return to Formula E, where he won the race in 2017-2018 season.
In recent weeks, McLaren Racing announced the signings of 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Rossi and defending series champion Alex Palou while retaining Pato O’Ward. The wild card on the matter is the status of Palou, which Chip Ganassi Racing has also claimed for 2023.
“Yeah, I think this weekend hopefully makes (team officials) doubt some things,” Rosenqvist said. “It’s still a long way to go in the year, but as I said, with each race we are getting better and better. It’s the trajectory I want to be on, and I’m so excited for the rest of the season.
Rosenqvist has finished in the top 10 in five of the last six races. Sunday’s podium at Exhibition Place was his first top three finish as an Arrow McLaren SP driver.
Graham Rahal, who finished fourth in the No.15 United Rentals Honda of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, said Rosenqvist had nothing to prove to anyone.
“The guy is an exceptional talent,” Rahal said. “He belongs in INDYCAR racing, and I hope he finds a place. I know if we had room at the hostel (at RLLR), I would push for him (to be hired).
Rosenqvist was in charge throughout the 85-lap race after starting eighth. But the pass that will be debated came on Rossi as they raced through Turn 3 in a fight for third position. Rosenqvist got inside Rossi, and they collided climbing the hill towards Turn 4. Rossi lost grip on his steering wheel, and the #27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda of Andretti Autosport struck the left wall, ending his run. .
“It wasn’t big,” Rosenqvist said of the contact. “He also stays outside.”
The Swede went on to say that Rossi was most to blame, although neither driver was penalised.
Rossi was clearly unhappy with the incident, but he refrained from criticizing a driver he will work with in some form in 2023.
Rahal: Fourth ‘seems like a win’
Rahal was certainly pleased with his fourth place finish after a difficult season for the organization his father co-owns. His previous best result this season was a pair of sevenths (at St. Petersburg and Long Beach).
“(Fourth) looks like a win, especially today, I don’t think it was granted,” Rahal said.
Indeed, Rahal started 14th after failing to qualify for the first round of qualifying on Saturday, although it looked like he had a car capable of moving on.
Rahal commended his team for their commitment to the process.
“When you’re in the dumps like (our team) have been and you’re abused like we’ve been all over social media – even in the paddock everyone is like, ‘What the hell is this? what’s going on with you guys?'” Rahal said. . “Everyone expects more from us. We expect more from ourselves. Just to keep these guys standing tall, did you see the team smile this weekend? It’s worth the price to me. The result is even better.
“I’m super proud of them. (There is) a lot of heart in this program. I hope this is a boost for great things to come.
Next stop: Iowa Speedway Doubleheader
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES heads to Iowa Speedway for a weekend full of races and concerts.
Practice begins Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET on Peacock Premium, with the Hy-Vee Deals.com presented by Doordash hosted at 4 p.m. ET Saturday and the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 presented by Google at 3 p.m. ( ET) Sunday. Both races will be broadcast live on NBC and the INDYCAR radio network.
The return to the short oval in Newton, Iowa includes concerts by Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line on Saturday, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton on Sunday.
There is no admission charge on Fridays.
- Takuma Sato (No. 51 Deloitte Honda of Dale Coyne Racing with RWR) was cornered by two other cars in Turn 1 on the first lap, hitting the outside wall with his left front wheel. He couldn’t go on. “There was nothing I could do,” he said.
- Sato’s warning continued Toronto’s run to never have a run without a warning. It was the 36th race.
- Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet) was running third and eyeing a chance to battle for the win in the final pit stop. But he didn’t get as close to the tanker as he would have liked, and the slow stop saw him drop down the order, down to 10th, where he finished. He is fourth in the standings, 44 points off the lead.
- Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) started further than 15th for the fourth consecutive race, most of his career, but he couldn’t deliver the magic he showed at the Mid- Ohio Sports Car Race driving from the back of the pack to finish third. In this one he started 16th and finished 15th. Power remains second in the standings, but fell to 35 points behind Marcus Ericsson (No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda), who finished fifth.
- Defending series champion Alex Palou (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) rallied after a tough week to finish sixth. He had the public contract feud at the start of the week, hit the wall at Turn 2 and suffered a mechanical failure before the race.
- Rookie Kyle Kirkwood (#14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet of AJ Foyt Racing) had late-race contact with Jimmie Johnson (#48 Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing Honda). Kirkwood said he didn’t think Johnson saw him make a passing attempt, but Kirkwood was penalized for avoidable contact.
- 2000 Indy Pro points leader Louis Foster of Exclusive Autosport ended his weekend sweep with a 3.9-second victory over Jordan Missig of Pabst Racing. Foster won for the sixth time this season and has seven streak wins in all. The next race, an oval, is August 18-20 at World Wide Technology Raceway.
- Jace Denmark swept Pabst Racing of the USF2000 weekend by winning his third race of the season in Race 2 on Sunday. His teammate Myles Rowe, the series points leader, finished fifth after winning Race 1 on Saturday. DEForce Racing drivers Thomas Nepveu and Dylan Christie finished Sunday’s podium. The final race of the season will take place September 1-4 at Portland International Raceway.