AJ Foyt Racing president Larry Foyt described his cars as ‘looking competitive’ as Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Matheus ‘Matt’ Leist led the opening practice session for this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg.
The Brazilian in the No.4 ABC Supply Chevrolet set a fastest time of 01:01.7231s ending the session just ahead of Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan Honda’s Sebastien Bourdais in the No.18 SealMaster entry. The Frenchman set a fastest time of 01:01.7719s ending the session as the fastest Honda powered car.
Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda completed the top three with a fastest time of 01:01.8812s with team mate Alexander Rossi in fourth place in the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Honda had a quiet session until the closing stages when the Iceman brought his car into the top five with a fastest time of 01:02.0560s.
It was a great opening session as a Verizon IndyCar Series driver for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Robert Wickens in the No.6 Lucas Oil Honda as the Canadian ended the session in sixth place in the No.6 Lucas Oil Honda.
Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Menards Chevrolet was the leading Penske car in seventh place with a fastest time of 01:02.2162s ending the session just ahead of team mate Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet. Power set a fastest time of 01:02.3069s ending the session just ahead of Tony Kanaan who made it two AJ Foyt Racing cars in the top ten. The Brazilian driving the No.14 ABC Supply Chevrolet ended the session with a fastest time of 01:02.3370s.
It was a great morning for Ed Carpenter Racing as Spencer Pigot in the No.21 Autogeek Chevrolet rounded out the top ten with a fastest time of 01:02.3565s while Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Jordan King in the No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet ended the session in 11th place.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal in the No.15 United Rentals Honda ended the session in 12th place.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ed Jones in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda ended the morning in 13th place just ahead of Dale Coyne Racing’s Zach Claman De Melo in the No.19 PaySafe Dale Coyne Racing Honda.
Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden in the No.1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet was 15th fastest.
Zach Veach was 16th fastest for Andretti Autosport ending the session just ahead of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Michael Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey. Marco Andretti was 18th just ahead of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe.
In their first Verizon IndyCar Series official practice at a race weekend, Carlin Racing’s Max Chilton in the No.59 Gallagher Chevrolet ended the session in 20th just ahead of his team mate Charlie Kimball in the No.23 Tresiba Chevrolet. Takuma Sato in the No.30 MiJack Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing ended the session in 22nd place.
Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves in the No.88 Chevrolet was 23rd fastest while Juncos Racing’s Rene Binder rounded out the order in 24th place.