Felix Rosenqvist captures his first IndyCar Series win at Road America
Scott Dixon’s win streak finally ended. Chip Ganassi Racing just kept rolling along.
Felix Rosenqvist overtook Pato O’Ward on the next-to-last lap and earned his first career win Sunday in the second half of an IndyCar doubleheader at Road America. Rosenqvist became only the second driver to win an IndyCar event this year after Dixon posted three straight victories to start the season.
Rosenqvist and Dixon, who finished 12th, are Chip Ganassi Racing teammates.
The race turned into a duel between Rosenqvist and O’Ward, who were both chasing their first career victories. O’Ward pulled ahead on the 43rd of 55 laps, but his margin steadily decreased before Rosenqvist finally passed him.
“You’re never really too confident,” Rosenqvist said. “But when I saw the gap with Pato decrease the last four or five laps, I only had one thing on my mind and my crew also had only one thing on my mind, and that was winning the race.”
This weekend’s doubleheader marked the first time spectators were allowed during this coronavirus outbreak-delayed season. IndyCar organizers are allowing fans on a case-by-case basis, relying on local and state health guidelines wherever the races are held.
Those fans got to see quite a finish.
On the podium in Austria to celebrate his latest win, Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton raised a clenched right fist and spoke out against racism.
Rosenqvist went to O’Ward’s left and passed him on Turn 7 of the 14-turn road course that is just over four miles long. Rosenqvist took over from there and won by 2.8699 seconds.
O’Ward, who had the pole position for the first time in his career, said he was struggling with his rear tires down the stretch. O’Ward also was affected by traffic involving lapped drivers, including Conor Daly. Those two drivers had made contact Saturday in a move that wrecked Daly’s Chevy and knocked him out of that race.
“We were just unlucky at the end,” said the 21-year-old O’Ward, who had his first career podium finish. “We couldn’t make it happen. But I’m proud of myself. I gave it absolutely everything I had.”
Rosenqvist became the first Swede to win an IndyCar race since Kenny Brack’s 2002 victory at Mexico City. Rosenqvist had two second-place finishes last year.
Alexander Rossi, who won at Road America last year, finished third for the best result of what has been a disappointing season for the Andretti Autosport driver. Rossi ranked second in the point standings in 2018 and was third last year, but he hadn’t finished higher than 15th in any of the first three races this season.
Rosenqvist’s victory at least temporarily ended Dixon’s season-long dominance. Dixon was the first driver to win three straight IndyCar events since Simon Pagenaud in 2006.
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