Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Sports

Felix Rosenqvist notches Indy Lights win

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ST. PETERSBURG — Felix Rosenqvist is racing royalty in Sweden.

Last year, he received one of Swedish Motorsports highest honors with the Royal Medallion after becoming a two-time Macau Grand Prix champion and winning his first European Formula Three Championship this past year.

Now, Rosenqvist has changed lanes.

In February, he reached a deal with Belardi Auto Racing to run in the Indy Lights series for the first time. It is part of an ambitious racing schedule for Rosenqvist, who will also become a test and reserve driver for Mercedes-AMG DTM team.

His debut did not go exactly as planned with an engine electronic map mishap resulting in a seventh-place finish in the season-opening race on Saturday. He redeemed himself in the second race on Sunday, winning for the first time in his debut season.

"There is a lot of pressure because I'm a rookie. I have a lot of experience and I'm not the youngest guy in the field so people expect me to deliver — and I expect myself to deliver," the 24-year-old driver said. "I have to make sure I'm right up there. I feel as though we've done everything right and aside from the mistake (Saturday), we couldn't have a better start."

On Sunday, Rosenqvist took control early and finished with a 4.3675-second lead over Kyle Kaiser.

The biggest adjustment for Rosenqvist in Indy Lights is the length of the races.

"I'm not used to racing so long, so it was difficult," Rosenqvist said. "Most of the races I've done are half an hour, and the longer races have pit stops where you can reset and exhale a bit. Here, you have to be on it every lap and keep your concentration up. So it's mental and physical. I have to keep training to make sure I'm fit enough to do the long races."

New Port Richey's RC Enerson was 12th in Sunday's race and is ninth in the season standings.

Stadium Super Trucks: For the first time since the series made its debut at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg three years ago, the Stadium Super Trucks did not run at least one of their practice sessions or races on a wet surface.

With ideal conditions, the trucks traveled at more than 100 mph and reached heights of more than 15 feet off man-made ramps in both races.

The series, now in its fourth season, is the brainchild of Robby Gordon, the former IndyCar and NASCAR driver who wanted to develop an off-road format for trucks similar to Baja-style desert racing.

Keegan Kincaid won Sunday's race, beating Saturday's winner, Sheldon Creed.

Pirelli World Challenge: It was a dominant performance for Michael Lewis (GT), Martin Fuentes (GTA) and Sloan Urry (GT Cup), who all won Sunday to complete the weekend sweep in their respective classes. Corey Fergus, a driver in the GT Cup Class, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center after wrecking Sunday and was released.

Pro Mazda: Team Pelfrey had the top drivers in both series races this weekend. On Saturday, the team had three of the top five drivers. On Sunday, it took the top three spots with Aaron Telitz winning, followed by teammates Pato O'Ward and Weiron Tan.

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