When Felix Rosenqvist crossed the timing line at the end of Friday’s IndyCar qualifying, he thought he could possibly have taken his second pole of the season.

He had put in a stellar lap through 12 of the IMS road course’s 14 turns, and was actually 0.08 seconds better than Christian Lundgaard’s provisional pole time at that point in the lap.

A small wiggle in the infield esses, which he had to momentarily ease off the throttle to correct, slowed him down just enough to let Lundgaard stay in front to earn his maiden pole award.

In the end, the difference between the two drivers’ lap times was a mere 0.0027 seconds, which set a record for the closest margin in IndyCar’s Fast Six knockout format.

The record does not factor in oval qualifying times, which do not use the knockout format and can produce even narrower margins on account of the short lap times.

Following the session, Rosenqvist related how it was a ‘make or break’ lap and that he’s looking forward to using his front row spot to get a jump on the field on Saturday.

“I thought I had a mega lap going and I kind of messed it up a bit in Turn 9. I was just going for make or break, and didn’t make.

“Three thousandths? That’s always tough, but honestly I’m super happy to be P2. This is a track where, as Christian [Lungaard] said, I think a lot of European drivers have excelled, and I’ve had two poles here previously and almost three now, so maybe try starting on P2 instead and see how that goes.

“I mean, you can always go better. I think maybe Christian could probably go a tenth or two quicker,” Rosenqvist joked.

“That’s why I don’t bother anymore saying I could have, should have. We all go all in, all out, out there, and it’s always so tight.

Rosenqvist only had one mistake near the end of his lap. Photo: Kevin Dejewski

“This track honestly, if you’re one or one and a half tenths off, it can normally be the difference of maybe starting like 16th or P5. Like it’s so tight. You have to really put it together every qualifying segment.

“This time it didn’t work out, but I’m happy for Christian. That was an awesome run, and he really deserves it.”

The margin from Lundgaard in first down to Kyle Kirkwood in sixth was tight as well: only 0.2971 seconds total. That number marks the fourth closest set of laps for all six drivers in the final round.

Overall, the close nature of qualifying on Friday points to a potential for an all-out battle for the top spot in Saturday’s race. The green flag waves for the 85-lap event at 3:30PM Eastern Time.

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