Felix Rosenqvist “had to nail it” to give Meyer Shank Racing their first ever IndyCar pole in Long Beach

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment - James Black
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Felix Rosenqvist secured his sixth IndyCar pole position, and Meyer Shank Racing’s first one, yesterday on the streets of Long Beach. Beating Will Power by 0.0039 seconds the one-time IndyCar race winner continues what is a great start of the season.

“Honestly it’s a bit unexpected. I didn’t think I had it. I mean, I know everyone is so on it here, especially considering Q2, I had to nail it.

“I had a big moment out of five. I don’t think I lost a lot of time but I was still worried. We finished quite early as well. We were sitting in the car forever waiting.

“So excited to get it. Just a couple of thousandths in front of Will. Means a lot to beat this guy for pole. He’s got a couple under his belt,” he praised the 64-time pole sitter.

“It’s tight out there. You got to be your best self every lap out there.”

Coming off an up-and-down stint at Arrow McLaren, Rosenqvist seems in a good place at Meyer Shank. Scoring a seventh place in the season-opener in St. Petersburg and a podium in the Thermal All-Star race is proof of that good form, which is again confirmed by the pole here in Long Beach.

“It’s been good so far, for sure. I think everything has gelled pretty quickly. That always helps,” the Swede elaborates on his transfer to Meyer Shank. “I found myself previously, when you have to adapt, it takes a while before you gel with a car. Yeah, that time has literally been zero this year.

“I feel like I have the team behind me, for sure. Obviously a bit more of me pulling the shots, calling the shots this year, which has worked well. It’s almost, like, surprising how I feel like we’re making the right changes to the car. We follow the track evolution well. We’re really on it on the stand.”

“I think it’s impressive what these guys are doing at Meyer Shank Racing. They just gave me a package to be up there straightaway. Hugely impressive.”

Asked whether he has finally found his spot in IndyCar he stated that it is obviously too soon to tell, but he feels confident at the moment.

“If you ask me today, yes. But you never know tomorrow. I think it’s important to keep your feet on the ground, keep working. There’s so much more we want to do and improve. Lots of things that you can always improve.

“Yeah, we just kind of want to focus on ourselves, keep doing what we’re doing. Excited to get to the ovals soon to see how that feels.

“Obviously, second race of the year, so we’re early days.”

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment – James Black

Having scored six poles, but onle one win, the biggest question going into today’s race is obviously how he will convert the pole into a trip to victory lane.

“I mean, that’s what keeps me up at night, trying to convert. I mean, my pole-to-win ratio is 6-1 right now. That’s a big question for sure,” Rosenqvist said.

“I think we’re in a good spot, honestly. We feel like the car behaves really well. We believe it’s going to be good on tires.

“Yeah, I mean, the warm-up is going to dictate a lot. We’re going to have to be aware where the balance of the car goes. Definitely a lot of people now trying to make that happen. Long Beach, historically, it helps to be on pole, for sure. That’s nice.”

Proud to have given Meyer Shank their first pole, Rosenqvist reiterates he feels at home currently.

“No, I think it’s awesome. As I said, the team has just been behind me. I feel like they believe that I can do it. That makes me believe that I can do it in a way.

“Everyone’s just on the same page. No, I’m really proud of them. I think they’ve been close a couple times in the past. Obviously we still have that win to get, both for me and the team. They won the 500 in ’21. My last win was in 2020. We still have that to get that done again.”

The former Chip Gannassi and Arrow McLaren driver thinks he adds as much to the team as the team themselves impove as well, intensivising their partnership with Andretti Global.

“I think it goes both ways. I think they’ve taught me a lot, obviously. I brought some stuff to them. Obviously I’ve been with two big teams before. There’s some good bits you can bring.

“Honestly I feel like we just kind of done our own thing more than anything. We have a tight relationship with Andretti Autosport, our technical partner. That’s honestly been huge as well, to be able to bounce off ideas between the five drivers that we are with Kyle, Marcus, Colton and Tom and me.

“Yeah, I think it’s not a big thing. It’s all little details here and there. Just a good direction and a good ability to be able to react to different track conditions and setup changes, which in the end is probably the most that we’re doing back in the truck, is trying to get the car as quick as we can.”

Tonight’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach starts at 03:00 PM Eastern Time