TORONTO -- First-year NTT IndyCar Series driver Felix Rosenqvist isn't back home, but he certainly feels more comfortable at Toronto's Exhibition Place after winning twice here in Indy Lights.
The Swedish driver now driving the No. 10 NTT Chip Ganassi Racing Honda swept Indy Lights' doubleheader from the pole in 2016. He also won one of the races in St. Petersburg, Fla., from the pole that season.
“I think if you look at the results," Rosenqvist said of his maiden IndyCar season, "the best ones have been on tracks where I've been before."
Rosenqvist showed that experience in Friday's first practice of the Honda Indy Toronto, setting the third-fastest time in the 45-minute session. His lap of 1 minute, 1.2395 seconds trailed only Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon (1:01.0723) and Team Penske's Josef Newgarden (1:01.2138).
Rosenqvist said the benefit of having Indy Lights experience at some venues surprised him as he transitioned to the NTT IndyCar Series.
“I didn't really expect it to be a big help because the (Indy) car is different (from the Indy Lights machine)," he said. "But the American tracks are a bit different compared to European ones because they have a lot of character, a lot of bumps and changes in surfaces so it's almost like it takes longer to learn the tracks."
Some of Rosenqvist's Indy Lights success in Toronto can be chalked up to his experience racing on tight street circuits in lower formulas in Europe as well as the famed Macau Grand Prix, which he won twice and and finished second twice in five starts, on its difficult 19-turn, 3.8-mile street circuit.
He has also performed well on the streets in St. Petersburg and Detroit in IndyCar this year, and he feels confident that can continue in this event.
“I think the street courses have been the standout not only form me but also for our team this year,” Rosenqvist said. "But it's always a different challenge everywhere we go and it's not easy for sure.”
Friday's first practice saw three drivers spin in Turn 11 -- the last corner ahead of the front straightaway. Those drivers -- Team Penske's Will Power, Newgarden and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Takuma Sato -- all escaped with minimal, if any, contact and returned to practice following the mandatory and immediate 5-minute hold as a penalty for causing a stoppage during a practice.
Dixon said Turn 11 "has always been tricky."
The NTT IndyCar Series will resume practice today at 3:15 p.m. ET, with live coverage available on NBC Sports Gold. Another practice will be held Saturday at 10:20 a.m. ET ahead of NTT P1 Award qualifying at 2 p.m. ET.
Sunday's 85-lap race is at 3 p.m. ET. Qualifying and the race will air live on NBCSN. Catch all the timing and scoring information on racecontrol.indycar.com.