By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
PORTLAND, Ore. — Putting on a complete race has been Felix Rosenqvist’s Kryptonite all season.
Luck was finally on the Arrow McLaren driver’s side as Rosenqvist finished second to Alex Palou in Sunday’s BitNile.com Grand Prix of Portland.
It marked his second podium of the year and his best finish since joining Arrow McLaren in 2021. A much-needed result for the Swede as he’s expected to sign with a new team in 2024.
As far as his race weekend is concerned, things clicked for Rosenqvist’s No. 6 team the moment they unload the Chevrolet-powered machine off the transport. Despite rolling off 11th, there were plenty of reasons to smile this weekend in the Pacific Northwest.
“It’s been a really good weekend for us. The Arrow McLaren SmartStop was really good rolling off the truck,” said Rosenqvist, who led three laps.
“I was really bummed yesterday after qualifying. We had something break in the steering rack, and we had to pit before we could do our lap in Q2. So there was definitely more in it than our starting position showed.
“What a race. That was really good fun. It kind of went our way as well. We kind of gambled on staying out on reds, but it worked out with the yellow in the end.
“We had to obviously save the tires a bit, so I think it wasn’t the winning strategy, but it was for sure enough for a podium. Really happy with the comeback we did.”
Following the second and final caution period for Agustin Canapino spinning and stalling at Turn 11, track position became a burden for several racers. Especially when lapped cars restarted around lead lap cars which left teammate Pato O’Ward irate. Some see it as favoritism for the Hondas letting Honda cars go through with ease whereas making it tough for Chevrolet.
Rosenqvist didn’t see it that way as the caution and race traffic favored him as he didn’t dealt with lapped cars like Scott Dixon.
“I feel like it doesn’t really matter manufacturer-wise. It seems equally frustrating whoever you’re trying to pass, but you saw with Pato, he finished 19 seconds behind me, and I don’t think he was 19 seconds slower than me, so that’s how big of an effect it has,” said Rosenqvist.
“It played into my favor. I felt like I got through traffic pretty smoothly. I followed Scott and we managed to kind of get through quicker than normal because you can really get stuck…