It looked for a moment like a nightmare replay of the 2008 Olympics, when the USA team fumbled a handoff and were disqualified in an early heat.
Felix explains what went wrong during the hand-off in the video below.
The male team did manage to win their heat in their equivalent race as they ran the fastest time of all the qualifiers with a 37.65 finish.
"I just felt contacted", Felix told NBC after the race.
To make the final, scheduled for Friday at 9:15 p.m. ET, the USA must run faster than China's 42.70, which is the slowest time of the 8 teams that are now in the final. The U.S. won 29 medals, including nine golds, in London.
China protested against both the decision to disqualify Brazil for obstruction, and against allowing the United States a re-run. So, the judges brought the Americans back to run in the same lane, in the same order, in what USA Track and Field said was the first rerun of its kind in Olympic history. Meanwhile, the Brazilian team was disqualified.
"It's going to mess up the momentum and the handover, ' Felix said of the bump".
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruled in favor of the United States, granting them a time trial Thursday night to try and place for the semifinal. In the solitary race, the USA team again ran in the second lane.
"Honestly, I feel like it was just a glorified practice", English Gardner said.
Today at 8 p.m., Felix, Gardner, and the rest of their team will re-run the race alone on the track.
I dont know how much more I can take, said Felix, whose season has been filled with injuries, disappointments and, now, this.
Running around the track with no other team in sight, it was a rather surreal event.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce anchored the Jamaicans to victory in the first heat in 41.79, opening the door for Elaine Thompson to sweep the sprint medals at the Rio Olympics. "We just had just a little combustion over there in the third leg, but we got past it, got out there and performed like we're supposed to".
Germany won the heat in 42.18 seconds.
"We're just gonna regroup, get ourselves together and go out and be able to compete in the final", a determined Gardner told ESPN.