Felix Rosenqvist claims IndyCar pole as series looks to manage slick Texas track

The United States IndyCar Series is looking for the best possible solution to managing its Texas race at the weekend. The event that was scheduled has been cancelled due to lack of time in preparation, and there are now concerns over how it will be able to complete a full-length race on Sunday.

The “indy car series” is a professional auto racing series in the United States. The series was founded in 1950 as part of CART and became an open formula event in 2008.

FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – IndyCar is frantically seeking to establish a second passing lane at Texas Motor Speedway, where Felix Rosenqvist secured a much-needed pole Saturday in qualifying. This might be the series’ last race at the venue.

Rosenqvist’s Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet completed two laps at 221.110 mph, and the time stood as 16 drivers attempted to knock him off the pole. Scott McLaughlin, the season-opening race winner at St. Petersburg last month, was the last driver to qualify and just avoided pushing the Swede off the pole position.

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McLaughlin qualified 221.096 for Team Penske, missing the pole but securing the first row for Chevrolet.

Takuma Sato of Dale Coyne Racing qualified third in a Honda, followed by Will Power of Team Penske, as Chevrolet claimed three of the first four positions.

Scott Dixon, the five-time winner of the Texas 500, qualified fifth for Chip Ganassi Racing, and was followed by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves of Meyer Shank Racing.

In his IndyCar oval debut, Jimmie Johnson, the all-time winningest driver at Texas with seven victories in NASCAR, qualified 18th. In 14 IndyCar races, it was his best qualifying performance.

Since entering IndyCar in 2019, Rosenqvist has won two poles in his career. He’s coming off a bad debut season with McLaren and says Saturday’s qualifying performance gave him confidence.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Rosenqvist added. “We usually know we have a solid vehicle here, and I felt confident coming into this week. There was no reason why we couldn’t be strong in this situation.”

Since the circuit debuted in 1997, IndyCar has raced in Texas, and Sunday will be the 35th time the premier open-wheel series in the United States competes on the 1.5-mile oval. Over the years, attendance has declined, and a track redesign and amenities designed for NASCAR have rendered Texas an unsuitable venue for IndyCar.

In the corners, NASCAR and Texas officials utilize a traction compound to assist create a second passing lane, but the PJ1 compound doesn’t match the Firestone tires used in IndyCar, resulting in a high line that is much too slippery and unsafe for the drivers.

During Saturday morning practice, just a few vehicles risked to enter the second lane.

Dixon routed the field in the opening race last year, thanks to the traction compound, which has reduced previous IndyCar races into a single-groove, follow-the-leader snoozer. The second race was a little more competitive, with nine drivers trading the lead 12 times until Pato O’Ward, a Mexican driver from San Antonio, won his first professional race.

Saturday afternoon, IndyCar will attempt to establish a second lane by sending seven drivers out for a 30-minute practice to try to produce grip on the circuit. Even those who intend to lead the special session were doubtful.

“I don’t believe putting a grip up there will be adequate,” said Castroneves, who will lead the special session. “The speeds we’re driving are making it really slick, and there’s no way we’ll be able to complete two lanes. It’s the same as painting a home; you can’t wash it away.”

The contract between Texas and IndyCar ends after Sunday’s race, and there has been widespread speculation that the series may not return unless the presentation improves. However, IndyCar owner Roger Penske said early Saturday that such speculation is premature.

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