Felix Rosenqvist was cross with the NTT IndyCar Series' race control deciding to penalize him after an incident in qualifying for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

The Swede drifted off track between Turn 7 and the Corkscrew during the second round of qualifying. He then spun but kept the car rolling and returned to the track as James Hinchcliffe approached.

Hinchcliffe blipped the throttle and Rosenqvist got back on track without further issues.

Race control reviewed the incident and scrubbed Rosenqvist's two fastest times of the session. The Rookie of the Year points leader rebounded to set the quickest lap of the day at 1:10.1405 but the consequence dropped him to 14th on the grid.

The driver of the No. 10 NTT Data Honda pleaded along with race strategist Barry Wanser, but the penalty stood and kept him away from a shot at pole.

The Swede stormed out of pitlane back to his transporter before speaking with reporters from NBC Sports. He protested the decision thinking that the majority of the field weren't making their flyer runs yet.

"I don't know what they're thinking," he said. "We've been working for three days for this moment. They're saying I blocked someone while spinning. The guys did an incredible job. It's very unfair for them.

"It doesn't matter," he said. "They ruined our day. I don't know why. Maybe someone has something against me — or they want Herta to win the rookie championship."

His words caught the attention of his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon, who will start second in tomorrow's race.  Dixon, who defeated Rosenqvist for the win in a thrilling finish at Mid-Ohio, also questioned race control's decision.

"I imagine, like he's been super-fast all weekend, you know, and of course he gets fired up. I think all of us are extremely competitive. It's the environment. And I think with -- I don't know what the rule was or how it was.

"I thought you could when you caused a red, and he didn't. I know he hindered somebody's lap, so whatever, to lose your two quickest and then not advance even though had he done quick laps he would have advanced. I can imagine he's pretty angry. But he's been knocking on the door all year long, and I think he's still got a very good shot tomorrow.

Rosenqvist leads the Rookie of the year championship and has a 26-point advantage over Dale Coyne Racing rookie Santino Ferrucci.

 

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