Andretti Autosport’s season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg, presented by RP Funding, started very promisingly with Romain Grosjean in the No.28 DHL Honda starting the race from the pole and after making a fantastic start to the race leading the way until he was caught up in an incident with Scott McLaughlin where the pair collided going into Turn 4 after McLaughlin came out of the pits. Grosjean was forced to retire from the race, but McLaughlin could continue.

Speaking following the race, Grosjean said:

“The No. 28 Honda was strong. We had a lot of support here from DHL this weekend and we wanted that win today. We all race, we all make mistakes. Scott (McLaughlin) came over and apologized, which means everything to me. He did get a penalty, unfortunately, that doesn’t really change anything for my race, but the fact that he comes here and says he’s sorry is a big deal. I know that we were the fastest car on track by a long way and that’s all that matters. We were competitive, we were up there and we have 16 races left. We showed today with Andretti that we can be up there.”

Colton Herta in the No.26 Gainbridge Honda was taken out of the race following contact with Team Penske’s Will Power which resulted in the defending series champion being placed down the order by INDYCAR race officials. Speaking following the race, Herta commented saying:

“The Gainbridge car was really good today. We seemed to be down on the Firestone alternate tire but then we had a really good car on the (primary) blacks. A lot of guys in front of us were on the alternates, so we were going to be able to make some passes. We had a good opportunity for a podium and maybe even a win. It sucks because I don’t want to start the season off like this.”

Kyle Kirkwood was classified in 15th place having started the race in P5 and speaking following the action he commented saying:

“It seemed like almost everything that could’ve gone wrong went wrong for Andretti Autosport today, super unfortunate. This track has changed a lot from the previous years it seems like. This was the most yellow-filled race we’ve ever seen at this track and I think that comes from the new asphalt changes, making it slick out there. Typical street course racing; yellows, you get shuffled to the back and there’s nothing you can really do but get caught. Overall if there’s one thing I take from this weekend it’s that as a team we showed pace every single session on track and proved race pace. We showed we could win, just nothing played out in our favor. I’m looking forward to getting the AutoNation car back on track in Texas.”

Devlin DeFrancesco who went airborne on the opening lap of the race spoke after the event saying:

“We had a hard knocking today with that incident. It wasn’t the way we wanted to start the season. The No. 29 Capstone Honda was promising in qualifying. We had some concerns about Turn 3 and it played out in the scenario that it did. I saw Helio spinning in front of me and really was on the brakes – there was no where to go. I saw the 55 coming and knew it was going to be a big one. I just braced up the best I could. It was a wild ride, but we’re okay and we’ll focus ahead on Texas.”

Chief Operating Officer of Andretti Autosport Rob Edwards said:

“They say it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish – so it’s obviously disappointing to see how today went. When you take a step back and think about the weekend as a whole, there was obviously a lot of progress from last year. We had a lot of speed. I think the way that the team is working really well together – the drivers are all working together – everyone is working really well. We definitely made gains and improved on all of those areas. Unfortunately, it wasn’t our day but we’ll take the positives on to Texas and keep building on that.”


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