Pato O'Ward Felix Rosenqvist

There is growing anticipation for Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES readies for the next round Sunday, April 2 at Texas Motor Speedway.

O’Ward is coming off a bittersweet runner-up result at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 5, where a mechanical hiccup while leading late impacted his No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. While the outcome stings, it still builds positive momentum to carry into the PPG 375 (noon ET on NBC, Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network) at the 1.5-mile oval, the site of the Mexican’s first NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory in 2021.

“If you would've told me that's where I would've won my first INDYCAR race, I would've told you you were crazy just because of what Texas is,” said O’Ward, who scored two wins last season en route to seventh in the championship standings. “It's unbelievably quick. It's probably one of the hardest tracks – and ovals – on the calendar just because of how fast it is and how easy it is to make a mistake. But I have really grown to love Texas, and I can't wait to get there and keep on this momentum that we've created from St. Pete.”

Rosenqvist, driver of the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, is looking to put St. Petersburg in the rear-view after a strong start to the weekend was derailed on the opening lap after contact from Scott Dixon, ultimately relegating him to a 19th-place finish.

However, a visit to the Lone Star State might be the perfect place to rebound. The Swede captured the NTT P1 Award for last year’s race, earning the pole with a two-lap average of 221.110 mph.

“Unfortunately, that has kind of been the rhyme for us and maybe more places we deserve (better) the last one or two years, but I'm sure it will turn around in our favor at some point,” Rosenqvist said. “Luck isn't really a thing; it's just math in the end. So, I think we'll have a good streak of events here coming up. I just feel super happy with the team around me right now. We stepped up a lot.

“Going to Texas, probably my favorite track, still haven't really had the result I'm looking for there, but yeah, pole last year, then driveshaft failure in the middle of the race. Just super-stoked to get back there.”

Despite a tough result to start his 2023 campaign, Rosenqvist maintains his calm demeanor and recognizes there are 16 races left until the final round in September at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

“I don't feel like I need to like, 'Oh my God, I have to win the race,' but I just want to get back in the groove and get some points going,” said Rosenqvist, who finished eighth in the standings last year with one podium finish and two poles. “We missed a lot of points in St. Pete, so just get back on the program. Yeah, fired up for the rest of the season.”

Rosenqvist, the 2019 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year, has been a regular among the frontrunners but on multiple occasions been in the wrong place at the wrong time, like in St. Petersburg, or left crestfallen from a mechanical issue that halted a potential return to victory lane.

It begs the question of what can be done to break free and persevere from these difficult results and be a mainstay at the front of the field?

“It's hard to win in INDYCAR,” said Rosenqvist, who has one win in 63 starts. “We're capable of doing it. It just hasn't gone all the way, but we've been up there, especially at the end of last year. We're continuing to knock on the door; getting pole positions and got some podiums.

“So, it'll come. You can't get desperate with it. And I think also if you get a win out of the way, then everyone gets more confidence in the team and just look at Marcus (Ericsson), for example. He started winning, and then he's just on this roll. That's what we're looking for, as well. He was pretty much where I'm at for a long time, as well. We're focused; we're not stressed out. We just want to continue to do what we do, and I think we'll be up there soon.”