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INDYCAR 2015: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Preview

Discussion in 'IndyCar' started by Rob, Mar 27, 2015.

  1. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    INDYCAR 2015: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Preview

    As IndyCar revs up for its first race on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, fans are a-buzz about the new aero kits and the closer racing they should produce. Providing teams with the ability to have more creativity in the aerodynamic design of the Honda/Chevy duos has appeared to produce closer racing instead of widening the gap, as a dynamic mix of spec and non-spec rules pump life into IndyCar.

    While Mercedes is running away from the shrinking fields of cars behind them by a second or so in F1, you could throw the proverbial blanket across the top 13 teams in IndyCar, at least according to pre-season testing at NOLA. They were separated by a whopping half second in New Orleans (a new track for this year also) and virtually the entire field was only a second apart. So the question becomes – is Honda still lagging a bit behind Chevrolet, or are the new aero kits allowing them (credit F1 co-development here also) to creep closer to Chevrolet on the leader-boards? We are about to find out this weekend as the Verizon IndyCar Series kicks off this weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida, which became the first race only after Brazil had to be cancelled for a host of political reasons.

    IndyCar fans are excited again (as the viewership numbers worldwide can attest) and, even more strikingly, are thinking like F1 fans in terms of “the future” and and “pushing development” at least as far as the limited spec will allow. Fans of legendary IndyCar reporter Robin Miller say things like: “I've been drooling all over Marshall Pruett's detail pics of the cars in testing. There is some seriously cool stuff going on here and its stuff you can see, not like engine or suspension changes. How good they look is a matter of opinion, but browsing the non-IndyCar news, these new cars have made an impact. Websites that don't normally talk a lot about IndyCar featured stories on the new kits.”

    As for the overseas perspective, one F1 fan wrote Miller and explained his opinion this way: “I am a F1 fan foremost and I regard F1 as the pinnacle of motor racing. That said, I cannot deny the progress IndyCar has accomplished lately. Their cars look like real rocketships and sound like one, too. Compared to F1, the technical regulations on IndyCar engines are less complex (not less sophisticated) and for the better. I get what F1 is trying to do and the markets they are trying to appeal with this hybrid technology but the reality is that the cars lack the visual and aural impact of the current Indy cars. I saw Ryan Hunter Reay Dallara at the Miami Int'l Auto Show last year and it blew me away. For a machine that's designed to be functional over anything, it was quite the beautiful car. I sincerely hope that IndyCar gets the media exposure it deserves this year and that new fans start watching. Oversea races must be added in the future to gain more global support. Street races in Abu Dhabi, Germany and United Kingdom should be considered. Lastly, I want to see both Simona and Montoya win races this year.

    Miller, in his usual blunt tone, responded as such: “If 2015 can be anything like 2014 (11 different winners in 18 races) or 2013 (10 different winners in 19 races) then everyone should be happy. I get that F1 is for techies and one team usually seems to dominate and it’s got millions and millions of worldwide viewers but another Mercedes match race doesn’t interest me. I like the fact I don’t know who is going to win ANY race in IndyCar.”

    St. Petersburg had always been a way for IndyCar to sort of ease into the season, since many of the drivers live in Florida and it's a big vacation destination in a beautiful downtown by the water. However, this year, there is some real excitement about the racing itself. More to the point, core IndyCar fans are always going to watch. What the casual viewer notices is described aptly by the Miller fan: “People outside of the IndyCar fickle, were paying attention. People went "WHOA!" when the new cars came out. It's a superficial change in some ways, but to the casual viewer or non-fan, it's a big leap from spec cars. Remember, it was only four short years ago when IndyCar was a truly spec series, and seven years since the reunification, which seemed like a last gasp of a dying form of racing. Something, somehow has worked....” Miller responds: “It’s entirely possible that youngsters and non-fans could be drawn to the new look, which would be a bonus since GM and Honda both seem happy to have their own looks.”

    So what about the track? St. Petersburg is a city circuit with concrete barriers, as several IndyCar circuits are. This even distribution of closed circuits, street races, ovals and, of course, the Grandaddy of them all, the Indianapolis 500, is what many believe make IndyCar the only series to test the versatility of driver skill in open wheel racing.Being run on a street that is normally used for street traffic and not as well “prepared” (shall we say) as Monaco, St. Petersburg will be a fist fight, as usual. Cars will have to find creative places to pass, and there will likely be that one or two multi-car pileup that slows the race considerably.

    Sometimes, F1 fans have a hard time getting used to all the cautions, but this kind of racing tends to breed them. As Maxim, the magazine puts it: “It is a fast, rough, rugged, narrow complex of 14 turns and a front straight that bombs down a patched-up concrete runway. For the viewer, the race is as white-knuckled as it gets: drivers dive into turns wheel-on-wheel, bouncing over tarmac patches, and emerge in mixed order. IndyCar has that quality that most motorsports (especially Formula One) are so lacking in this modern era: Unpredictability. http://www.maxim.com/cars/racing/article/2015-indycar-season-opens-gut-wrenching-road-race

    As for IndyCar coming to Europe? Well, Miller has his terse response: “No doubt it’s a stretch to think IndyCar has much chance to overtake F1 in terms of an audience (although a couple more races with 15 starters might shrink that gap) but obviously there is concern over there and you wonder about how long some teams and manufacturers can hang in there. But IndyCar running a couple of one-offs in Europe isn’t going to help its perception either.”

    However, many disagree, including this author. After all, if the NFL can do it....

    So you want to watch? Well, unlike many other more famous series' IndyCar makes it easy. Mike Kitchel of IndyCar: “Streaming will be available for all practice sessions in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Streaming of qualifying sessions will be available at all ABC event weekends (the exception being Indianapolis). Qualifying is not available to be streamed for NBCSN races as it is televised. All streaming will be done from our YouTube channel. Youtube.com/Indycar, a platform that will be available worldwide. Races are all televised live in the Unites States and many, if not all, in the U.K. as well. Streaming will also be embedded on the RaceControl.IndyCar.com page for viewing while watching Timing & Scoring.

    Oh, and Maxim will be sponsoring the #15 car driven by Graham Rahal, which is a thing of beauty, like the magazine:[​IMG]
    Isn't that reason enough to watch?

    See also: http://www.racer.com/robin-miller-s-mailbag-for-march-25-presented-by-honda-racing-hpd
    And, for viewing options: http://www.indycar.com
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2015
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  2. R.J. O'Connell

    R.J. O'Connell
    Commentator/Contributor Premium Member

    This could be an amazing year for IndyCar, I am quite eager to see Josef Newgarden notch a first victory, Sage Karam and Simona de Silvestro turn their brief cameos this weekend into full-time rides for the season...I never thought I would say this after the way unification was handled, and after being so flipping irate after Vegas 2011.
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  3. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    I'm right there with you R.J. IndyCar just can't seem to get out of their own way sometimes, but when it all comes together (and I always had faith that it would simply because of the way it is structured) it can be a thing of beauty. Us old heads know this. I'll be pulling for Simona too, (likely better than at least one Sauber driver, despite the ga-ga hype) and I'd really like to see Power finish last. lol. Massive respect for Roger, though, but not Chip. It's the Andretti team that, if I had to pull for a large team, would get my vote. I think he makes good driver decisions, by and large...and sticks by them, unlike the others, even if they aren't winning. Montoya for a win or two and Sato the Championship! :thumbsup:

    EDIT: Sorry -- Will Power finish last. ;). Can't put my finger on why I dislike him but @Chris Hempsall could definitely help me out with putting it into words I think.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
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  4. I'm definitely looking forward to the 2015 season. I love the unpredictability of the racing. Last year's results in F1 and Moto GP prove that high-tech doesn't make for better racing.
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  5. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

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  6. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    Final Practice, then the Indy Lights Race. Qualifying will be on around 4:00pm EDT U.S. on the same channel. The race will not be broadcast live on You Tube, but is available (go to the 1:00.00 mark to get to Final Practice).
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
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  7. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    Didn't know Max Chilton was now with Carlin, formerly Carlin Motorsport, a racing team based in the U.K.. It currently competes in four championships — GP2, GP3, FIA Formula 3, and Formula E.

    Max will reportedly move to IndyCar in 2016.
  8. @Robert Waddell The same YouTube channel which is broadcasting qualifying live - will they be streaming the race live too by any chance?
  9. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    Unfortunately not. IndyCar still making pretty good money on T.V. rights, but they thankfully open up the pre-race stuff.

    I have heard that all of the races are being made available in the U.K., and I think for free. BBC maybe? I'll try to find out where IndyCar is available Internationally.
  10. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    ESPN Player expands INDYCAR's international live, on-demand coverage

    By IndyCar.com staff
    Published: Mar 23, 2015

    ESPN Player will bring fans across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (excluding the UK, France, Italy and South Africa) live and on-demand coverage of the Verizon IndyCar Series season as a new channel on the digital subscription service.

    ESPN Player users can enjoy comprehensive coverage of all 16 races, starting with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29.

    “The Verizon IndyCar Series is a fantastic addition to the portfolio of sports content available to fans across the region,” said Charly Classen, vice president and general manager, ESPN – Europe, Middle East and Africa. “ESPN Player embodies our ethos of serving sports fans anytime, anywhere by providing extensive coverage live and on-demand, on multiple devices. 2015 will be a great year of sport as we look to deliver fans more content than ever before on ESPN Player.”

    Subscribers will also be able to take advantage of ESPN Player’s on-demand service to watch all the qualifying action before tuning in to watch the race live. There will also be on-demand coverage of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.

    Fans can also catch up on all previous races with comprehensive highlight packages available on-demand.

    “ESPN Player is a positive step forward to both the digital and international distribution of Verizon IndyCar Series events,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR. “The increase in both live and on-demand coverage will be valuable in showcasing the INDYCAR brand and the excitement of our on-track product to fans across the world.”

    ESPN Player is available on Mac, PC, iPad, LG and Samsung Smart TVs, with high-quality streaming on all devices.

    Packages include an IndyCar race pass, IndyCar Month pass and IndyCar Season pass. For pricing and other information, visit ESPNPlayer.com.

    Can I watch ESPN Player on my computer?

    Yes. Simply visit www.espnplayer.com, select your favourite sports channel and subscribe to one of the subscription packages available.

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    Yes. ESPN Player is available, as a downloadable app, on iPad. Simply download the FREE ESPN Player application from the iPad app store, and then use your ESPN Player username and password to log-in and access your account. You must purchase your pass via a web browser (there is currently no in-app purchases).

    Currently ESPN Player is only available on iPad. ESPN Player is not currently available on Android or smartphones.

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    Yes. ESPN Player is available on Samsung and LG (Connected) Smart TVs.

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    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
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  11. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    The new aero kits have made this year's IndyCar five seconds faster on a track whiich takes a driver a minute circle, which is the fastest lap ever run at the St. Petersburg track. Speculation is that they will be the fastest cars ever run in IndyCar, at least on non-ovals.

    Old Track Record (2002, CHAMPCAR): 100.894
    New Track Record (Today, 2nd round): 1:00.650 (Will Power)
    Last Year: 1:05.891

    Twelve different nations represented among the drivers. Here is the starting grid:

    Event: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
    Track: St Petersburg Street Circuit
    1.8 mile(s)

    Verizon IndyCar Series
    Rank / Car / Driver / Name / C/E/T / Time / Speed / Session
    1 1 Power, Will D/C/F 01:00.6931 106.767 Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
    2 22 Pagenaud, Simon D/C/F 01:00.7252 106.710 Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
    3 3 Castroneves, Helio D/C/F 01:00.8356 106.517 Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
    4 2 Montoya, Juan Pablo D/C/F 01:00.8532 106.486 Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
    5 14 Sato, Takuma D/H/F 01:01.1496 105.970 Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
    6 11 Bourdais, Sebastien D/C/F 01:01.1545 105.961 Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
    7 10 Kanaan, Tony D/C/F 01:01.1182 106.024 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
    8 28 Hunter-Reay, Ryan D/H/F 01:01.1670 105.939 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
    9 9 Dixon, Scott D/C/F 01:01.2285 105.833 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
    10 67 Newgarden, Josef D/C/F 01:01.2478 105.800 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
    11 25 de Silvestro, Simona D/H/F 01:01.3657 105.596 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
    12 27 Andretti, Marco D/H/F 01:01.4765 105.406 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
    13 83 Kimball, Charlie D/C/F 01:01.5727 105.241 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
    14 26 Munoz, Carlos D/H/F 01:01.4890 105.385 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
    15 15 Rahal, Graham D/H/F 01:01.5742 105.239 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
    16 5 Hinchcliffe, James D/H/F 01:01.5780 105.232 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
    17 4 Coletti, Stefano (R) D/C/F 01:01.6727 105.071 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
    18 8 Karam, Sage (R) D/C/F 01:01.8011 104.853 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
    19 20 Filippi, Luca (R) D/C/F 01:01.6736 105.069 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
    20 7 Jakes, James D/H/F 01:01.8323 104.800 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
    21 41 Hawksworth, Jack D/H/F 01:02.0095 104.500 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
    22 98 Chaves, Gabby (R) D/H/F 01:01.9705 104.566 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
    23 19 Dracone, Francesco (R) D/H/F 01:04.2654 100.832 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
    24 18 Huertas, Carlos D/H/F 01:01.9716 104.564 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2

    (R) Rookie
    (C)hassis: D=Dallara | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)ire: F=Firestone
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
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  12. Ole Marius Myrvold

    Ole Marius Myrvold
    JWB 96-13 Staff

    They compete in Indy Lights as well, with Chilton in the first race. He retired. Teammate Ed Jones won on Carlin's debut.

    13 cars was... not what I had expected for the "new and awesome Indy Lights". Especially not when Chilton, Matt Brabham and another driver so far only have announced the first weekend.
  13. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    Indy Lights has struggled just like IndyCar, except IndyCar hs the Indy 500 which is an icon. It used to be that most of the feeder drivers came from a series called "Formula Atlantic" and this indeed, for a while guaranteed a spot in the split-off series, Champ Car. Indy Lights has never been seen, at least by many, as legitimate, but instead more like NASCAR's junior series...a way for IndyCar to have control over the feeder series. But like you say, it's supposed to have been invigorated. I guess that didn't quite come off.
  14. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    Montoya Powers to Victory at St. Petersburg

    By Dave Lewandowski
    Published: Mar 29, 2015
    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Twenty-four hours before securing his 13th Indy car victory and first on a road/street course since Vancouver in his 1999 CART championship season, Juan Pablo Montoya was sizing up the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

    “Roger (Penske) hired me to get the job done and I do my best to get the job done,” he said.

    Montoya did just that in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He held off Team Penske teammate and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power over the final 27 laps and won by .9930 of a second in the competition debut of the aerodynamic bodywork packages supplied by Chevrolet and Honda.

    Montoya held a 3.3-second advantage over Power following an exchange of final pit stops on Laps 81 and 82, but Power closed to .6147 of a second on Lap 100 and was sizing up an opportunity to overtake the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

    Click it: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg box score

    Power, who set the track record on the way to winning the Verizon P1 Award for the 110-lap race on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course, made his move entering the tight left-hand Turn 10 on Lap 101. The cars made slight contact and Power’s No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet fell back 1.5474 seconds back at the start/finish line.

    "If I hadn't damaged my (front) wing, maybe I would have had another shot,” Power said. “He was very strong on the front straight and my exits weren't very good. That was really my only chance. I thought maybe I would catch him off-guard there. You don't expect someone to pass there, so, yeah, I gave it a shot.

    “I was surprised at how aggressively he turned, but he wanted to win the race and so did I.”

    Said Montoya, who recorded his second victory since returning full time to IndyCar racing in 2014: “I saw him make the move but he was way too far and I wasn’t going to give him the position. If he was beside me I would have said, ‘OK, go ahead.’ When I got to the turning point he wasn’t even close. It is a shame we touched, but it’s all good, it’s racing.

    “The tires were not falling off and right there at the end I was just running slow to look after them. When I needed to push I could push. Everybody with Verizon and Team Penske did an amazing job; Chevy as well. This aero kit is amazing to drive.”

    The last Team Penske 1-2 finish was August 2014 at Milwaukee, with Power beating Montoya by 2.7 seconds. It was the 175th Indy car victory for the team (78 on road or street courses).

    “It was a fight between our two guys in front. It was just an amazing weekend,” Penske said. “To come back this year with the fast times in qualifying and win this race 1-2, and four drivers in the top six, wow, what a day.”

    Of the non-"Big Three" Teams, Sebastien Bourdais finished 6th for KVSH Racing and Britian's
    Jack Hawksworth finished 8th for A.J. Foyt Enterprises (which was the second highest placing Honda entry).

    Ryan Hunter-Reay, who finished seventh in the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport car, was the highest-placing Honda entry. Last year at St. Petersburg, Power held Ryan Hunter-Reay at bay on Laps 78-110 to win the race and make an opening-round statement on his way to his first series title.

    “I think that was the hardest seventh-place finish I’ve seen,” he said. “That’s how it is sometimes, when you have bad days you have to bring home solid top 10s. We’ll take the top 10 and move ahead with the DHL car for New Orleans.”

    The inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana is April 10-12 at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, La.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  15. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Quote Sheet

    MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): "Honestly, it was the hardest fought 10th (place) of my career. Sort of just different balances all the time - three problem cars in every corner. We were really on top of the racetrack, but we'll work to figure things out sooner rather than later."

    SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet): "It was a solid result for the Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing team, but it was a bit up and down. Initially, it felt like we had something special going. I got TK (Tony Kanaan) and the car had good pace. Then I made a couple of mistakes and a restart didn't go my way. After that, Sato hit us and we lost three positions. It was one of those races where you controlled the damage, but you don't feel you have achieved what you were capable of. I am satisfied with the result and happy for the team, they did a good job. It's a good start to the season. The pace was good when we got clear air, but it is definitely is hard to follow other cars and get a run on them. We will keep digging, keep working on starting higher up on the grid and see where we end up."

    HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet): "Really proud of the Hitachi Chevy guys today. They did a great job and we battled hard throughout the race. The car was fast. We didn't end up where we would have liked to be, but overall we had a good day. Really happy for Juan (Montoya) and congratulations to him on the win and to Will (Power) on his podium finish. Great way to start the season for Roger (Penske) with a 1-2 finish."

    GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda): "I learned so much today. I learned tire management and the differences in the red to black tires. I learned about fuel saving, driving to a number and trying to not lose position. The incident with the 5 car (Hinchcliffe): I saw an opening, but it closed up. I tried hard to avoid it, even getting down in the grass, but just couldn't avoid it. All in all, it was a good weekend. We learned a lot as a team, I learned a lot and we showed that we can run strong at this level. I'm really looking forward to NOLA and the rest of the season."

    STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "The KV Racing Technology team gave me a great car today, but unfortunately we didn't have the result to prove it. The car was fast and I overtook a lot of people. Every restart I overtook several cars, improving three or four positions. Obviously, I am disappointed with the final result. I had some issues and had to make up a lot of positions, so I used a lot of fuel. As a result, I had to pit with four laps to go. At least I had fun today in my first Verizon IndyCar Series race and hopefully the result will change when we race in New Orleans in two weeks."

    SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda): "The incident with Carlos (Muñoz) kind of started the whole downhill of our day. We lost a lot of pace after that incident and then we were kind of behind the ball a little bit. At the end, you just kind of keep going - you adapt to it (how the car changes after an incident). Then, it was unfortunate with (James) Jakes; he seemed to brake really early into the last turn and I couldn't really avoid him. We finished - it's definitely not the day we wanted. I think we were expecting much more, just a lot of things that went wrong during the race and could never really settle except towards the very end. Not the greatest day in the race car. I think it's been a positive weekend; we showed that we had the pace, which is a good thing, for sure. Not racing for a year and a half, you can feel that, especially when you are passing people - it's like, OK, I haven't done that in a while. It's OK - I don't think I'm really happy with it, but we finished the race and it's experience we're going to take on if we do more races together."

    SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chevrolet): "It wasn't the day we had hoped for in the Target car today. We had some early issues with the air jack and couldn't get the car off the ground during our pit stops. It seemed like the front would come up, but the rear end would stay on the ground. The team did the best they could on our stops, but in reality you can't be competitive in this type of racing when your stops are taking that long. We just never seem to have the best luck in St. Petersburg but we'll keep pushing for the results we know we're capable of."

    FRANCESCO DRACONE (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "I am really upset that I wasn't able to finish the race today. I was having fun out there and having some success. I think the team had me on a good strategy but there was something not right with the power delivery of the car. I was having some issues and couldn't continue. Hopefully we will get it sorted and do better in the next race."

    LUCA FILIPPI (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): "I am happy with that. Obviously, so many things are new to me. On one hand we want to have good results, on the other hand we know that we have to learn a little before we can really fight for the podium. The team did a great job, they gave me great pit stops and we can build on this. This is a good start for the season, from here I can just get better and better."

    JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "Really fun race, really entertaining. After the disappointment in qualifying, the guys really worked hard last night and found what was wrong and corrected it and gave me a fast car today. We lost the front wing on the first lap, replaced it, then had some contact in the middle of the race and lost an end fence. I didn't have a clue what was going on out there, I was just pushing like crazy all the way through once we got into clean air because I knew that was going to be important. The guys made good stops, got me in clean air and we finished in the top 10 from the back of the grid. I was really happy for the whole ABC Supply team. I don't think I've ever been so happy with an eighth-place finish before."

    CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "Today was not how we wanted to start the season. Something wasn't right with the steering because when I turned the wheel all the way, it didn't feel like I was getting as much to the wheels. I didn't make contact with anything but something clearly wasn't right. I would like to have finished the race but I would have been struggling to keep my pace enough. Hopefully things will go better in New Orleans. We just tested there so I got to know the circuit and am looking forward to going back there."

    RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "I think that was the hardest seventh-place finish I've seen. That's how it is sometimes, when you have bad days you have to bring home solid top 10s. We fell back to like 18th or 19th after the issue at the start with Bourdais. We rebounded nicely, but to be honest I think that's about the car we had today - a sixth- or seventh-place car at best. We'll take the top 10 and move ahead with the DHL car for New Orleans."

    TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet): "It was a really fun race for us and I'm just so happy that I was able to get NTT DATA Racing a podium finish in the first race out. We still have some things to work on to get better as a team, but I'm pretty happy with today's finish. I have to give so much credit to the guys on pit lane. They just did such a great job today. This is a nice way to start the season and after this third-place finish, I'm even more motivated to continue to do better."

    SAGE KARAM (No. 8 GE LED Chevrolet): "It was funny, I came into the pits after the race, took off my helmet to debrief with the guys and noticed I didn't use any tear-offs from my helmet! A rookie mistake, I guess. I was so focused on taking care of the car and running good laps, I totally forgot. But all in all, I just tried to do what the team told me to, which was keep the car in one piece and run all the laps. That was the plan today. Although I wished we would have finished higher, I know that this is a learning process. I spoke with Dario (Franchitti) after the race and we talked about saving fuel and how crucial that is in these races. I know we'll get better and I had a good first experience in the GE LED car in my first road and street course in the series."

    CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet): "Obviously it's a disappointing result for the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen guys. Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing has worked really hard over the winter. We had great pit stops, and I got taken out by some dumb driving. We ended up fixing the rear wing and when I was in clean air, the car was really fast. I guess that is the frustrating thing, really. The result wasn't there but the speed in the car was. I can't wait to get the car back to NOLA, where we had a good test at the beginning of the week, and then to Long Beach."

    JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet): "Today was a good day, to be honest with you. The car was really good on black tires and that was the key. The tires were not falling off and right there at the end I was just running slow to look after them. When I needed to push, I could push. Everybody with Verizon and Team Penske did an amazing job - Chevy as well. This aero kit is amazing to drive."

    CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV/Cinsay Honda): "So it wasn't a good race with everything that happened. I smashed my front wing and I wasn't really good in the restarts, so that was part of it all. We weren't really there the whole weekend, so we have to work hard for New Orleans."

    JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet): "It was a really strong effort from everyone to try to keep us in the fight. All the CFH guys were awesome, as they always are. I have to say thank you to Ed (Carpenter), Wink (Hartman) and Sarah (Fisher) for everything that they do to make this happen. Twelfth is not the best finishing position, but we can only go up from there. I think we had a car that was able to challenge for a top-five finish, but we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Right when Charlie (Kimball) got spun out in Turn 10, it was a bottleneck, I got into the back of (Sebastien) Bourdais and damaged the front wing. It sort of hurt us; we struggled to fight with everyone after that. We lost a lot of pace, then did what we could to finish as strong as possible. Twelfth was the best we had today, but I think we have more for the future."

    SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): "The Penske Truck Rental boys did a great job today. I am happy and you have to take it step by step. You just can't walk onto a team and push your teammates out of the way. I didn't want to create a mess at the start of the race, which I thought was a smart move but it was too cautious, which cost me a position during the race. (Fifth place) is a good start to the season and I'm excited about the next race already coming up in NOLA."

    ROGER PENSKE (Team Penske, Owner): "Well, I will tell you it was a fight between our two guys in front there. It was just an amazing weekend. The guys worked hard in the offseason on the aero kits and thanks for Chevrolet and Verizon for the support. But to come back this year with the fast times in qualifying and win this race 1-2, and four drivers in the top six - wow, what a day."

    WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Chevrolet): (On his late attempt to pass Montoya for the lead) "That was the only place that I could kind of get a run on him. He was very good out of the last corner, so the only chance I had to get around and drive past him was there, but I think he saw me. It was kind of optimistic, but if he would have gave me something, I would have taken it; but he didn't. He did what anyone would have done. He was phenomenally fast. I couldn't drop him on that stint before and he was very quick on the reds. ... It's a great day for the Verizon car. As we thought it would be, it's going to be a battle between teammates for the championship, I'm sure."

    GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Mi-Jack Honda): "The car was really good. I was very pleased with it. I thought we had a car that could have won today. When we got into fifth place after passing (Sebastien) Bourdais in Turn 1, (Simon) Pagenaud in Turn 4 and then Charlie (Kimball), I had Helio (Castroneves) in my sights. I was strong on restarts so I thought I would be able to fight my way up there and catch up to (Will) Power. I knew we had reds (alternate tires) to come, which in the end proved to be a strong suit. But then we got penalized. Kimball had a broken car and I didn't know what he was doing. He was so slow off of Turn 9 that I thought he was pulling over and then he accelerates into the kink. He had a broken car and was slow. I went inside of him and then he broke deep. He was cranking in well before the apex so I was trying to bail out and I just tapped him. Sure enough, I dive inside him and he comes over. It's a shame because the car was good today."

    TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "It was a tough race. We got a good start but then after a restart, there was a bottleneck in Turn 1 and I was boxed in. (Sebastien) Bourdais and I touched and it damaged the front wing. We had to change it and that really decided our race. We were able to overtake a few positions, but the time we lost was too great and we couldn't get back to the front. It was a tough one, but hopefully we got some good data for the next race."

    JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda):
    "It was obviously not the result that we wanted today. I think the car had a lot more pace than we were able to show in the final charts. It was one of those days. We tried to get off strategy early and it looked like it was going to work out for us - there was a bunch of debris on the race track - but race control waited for everyone else to finish their pit stops before they threw the caution, and that really kind of hosed us. That left us back in the mix on a restart where we got hit by Gabby, and cut a tire and went a lap down, so from there, you're kind of on damage control. It's too bad because I think the Arrow Electronics car had a lot more pace in it. Everyone at SPM has been working hard and learning a lot this weekend, and I think that's the biggest thing at this point. For us, it was as much a test session as a race weekend, being the first time out with the new car. We take a lot out of the weekend and will push forward into NOLA and beyond. I think we'll come back even stronger next race."

    James Jakes (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "It was a very frustrating day for the No. 7 MediaTech Honda SPM car. We were close to the top 10 before we were involved in an incident. It would've been nice to just get some points this weekend but I want to say thanks to the SPM guys. They did a great job as always. We'll move onto the next round, and be stronger and better then."
  16. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    Race Replay. Pt 1/2:
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    pt 2:
    • Like Like x 1
    • Love Love x 1
  18. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium Member

    My pleasure. About 1/3rd into the 2nd video the race gets fantastic. These cars, if I'm not mistaken, rev higher now than F1, and are closing the gap in speed very quickly. I love the shots of the bumps and the drivers sawing the wheel with that cam right on their hands.