Rosenqvist cleared to race at Gateway after Pocono crash

by Jordan Groves

Felix Rosenqvist has been cleared to race in this weekend’s 2019 NTT IndyCar Series Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park after being involved in the lap one crash at Pocono Raceway last weekend. Rosenqvist had the scariest ride in the incident on Sunday and was taken to hospital for evaluations, but has now been cleared by medical officials to race this Saturday.

Rosenqvist was running further back in the pack on the opening lap at Pocono when the three-car collision between Takuma Sato, Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay took place on the run into turn two. All three cars were sent out of control back onto the race track at turn two, with Rosenqvist being clipped by Sato’s car and then sent airborne. The front of Rosenqvist’s car made contact with the catch fencing on the outside of the track, with the rear of the car scraping along the top of the barriers.

Felix’s car came to rest on the exit of the corner and he was soon tended to by the safety crew. The other drivers involved were all checked and released from the infield care centre, whilst Rosenqvist was transported to a nearby trauma centre for further evaluations. Thankfully, it was announced a few hours later that he had been checked and released, with his only complaints being slight back pain and a headache.

As is usually the case after a driver suffers a significant accident, Rosenqvist underwent further evaluations with series officials to check that he was okay to drive in this weekend’s race at Gateway. Last night, it was announced that Rosenqvist has passed these tests and would be on the grid at Gateway on Saturday night.

“I’m pleased to have been given the go-ahead to race at Gateway this weekend,” Rosenqvist said, “Yes, I am a bit sore and it was definitely a significant impact, but all in all I feel perfectly fit and ready to return to racing. I have been very well taken care of these last few days and I’ve also been stunned by the outpouring of support from my fans around the world. I really, really appreciate it and I hope I can put on a good show for everyone this weekend.”

Whilst Rosenqvist has consistently shown great form in the road course and street circuit races that have made up his rookie campaign in the NTT IndyCar Series, it would be fair to say that Rosenqvist has yet to show the same speed on an oval. He has yet to place inside the top ten at the four oval races prior to this weekend, with this Saturday’s race being his last chance to do so before the end of the season.

Felix took part in a rookie test at Gateway recently and stated that it had been “the best feeling” he had experienced on an oval to date. Rosenqvist would go on to comment on how he was “committed” to getting his best oval result yet to help clinch himself the rookie of the year honours.

“I took part in a rookie test at Gateway a few weeks ago and I think that’s the best feeling I’ve had so far on an oval,” Rosenqvist said, “I don’t expect the crash last weekend to affect that at all. There was nothing I could do to avoid it, so there is no reason to change anything in terms of my approach to this weekend. I will be giving it everything I’ve got and I actually think it’s a positive thing getting back in the saddle again so soon. This is our final oval of the season and I’m committed to trying to make it our best one.”

Rosenqvist’s crash last weekend, coupled with a strong fourth-place finish for fellow rookie, Santino Ferrucci, has seen Felix’s points advantage in the rookie standings cut down to just thirteen points with three races remaining. Felix currently sits in ninth place in the standings, with Santino just further back in twelfth place. Felix will hope to minimize any potential points damage this weekend before the series returns to his more familiar environment of a road course for the final two races of the season at Portland International Raceway and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

It was also announced today that Rosenqvist will be carrying Monster Energy as a sponsor for this weekend’s race at Gateway. This weekend will mark the energy drink giant’s first full sponsorship of a Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar, with the company already sponsoring one of the team’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers, Kurt Busch. The livery can be seen below, courtesy of a press release from Felix Rosenqvist’s website.

The 2019 Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will take place under the floodlights on Saturday night, August 24. Practice and qualifying will take place the day before on Friday, August 23.

Credit: Felix Rosenqvist Press Release

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