Chip Ganassi Racing had a fantastic start to the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on Sunday.
Dixon, who led the way in the morning warm-up on Sunday prior to the race as well set the fastest times in practice on Friday and Saturday, driving the No.9 GE LED Lighting Honda started the race from second place on the grid alongside pole sitter Will Power and in Honda’s first race back with Chip Ganassi Racing they secured a podium finish with Scott Dixon finishing the race in third place.
Speaking following the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg, Dixon commented by saying:
It started off a little bit rough. We lost a spot at the start and then there was the mysterious caution. It was a bit strange – I don’t know why they were yellow for such a small piece of debris that wasn’t even on the racing line. That pretty much put us in the toilet right there. I will go see what the story was there. We had good speed and a good GE LED car to overtake. We passed a lot of cars both on strategy and on-track. It wasn’t the day we had hoped for obviously but it was better than a lot of other results we’ve had here over the years.
Tony Kanaan in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda started the race from sixth place and went on to finish the race in 12th place and speaking following the race, the Brazilian commented by saying:
I’m obviously not happy with how our race went today. The No. 10 NTT Data Honda felt good in practice and we ended up in the Firestone Fast Six yesterday, so we definitely were expecting today to go better than it did. After that first stop of the race, we came out of pit lane and had contact that damaged the rear wing. We were able to get back in the mix and move back up after that incident, but we just couldn’t ever catch the front half of the field.
Max Chilton in the No.8 Gallagher Honda started the race from seventh place and came home in 16th place two laps down on race winner Sebastien Bourdais and speaking following the race Chilton commented by saying:
It was a frustrating day today with the Gallagher team. We had a good car and we had good pace all weekend. The Honda program seems to be coming along nicely, which is encouraging. I think we just need to go back and really look at our race, how it unfolded and see what we can do better on next time. Sixteenth is not where we want to be especially when we had a car that should have qualified in the Firestone Fast Six.
Charlie Kimball in the No.83 Tresiba® Honda was involved in a first corner incident with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal and having started the race from ninth place he finished the race in 18th place and speaking following the event he commented by saying:
I’m really frustrated. I think when you get run into the wall on the start like that, it doesn’t help your day. It’s just disrespectful, but I’m glad to see the No. 83 crew fight back like they did – they never gave up. We came in and changed a toe rod and only went down about three laps I think and caught back up. We were able to get a couple laps back with all that pit stop changeover. The pace of the No. 83 Tresiba Honda was really good. All weekend the car has been quick. Balance was pretty good in the race – even with all the mayhem and damage we had. It’s frustrating to end up where we did – we had a much better car and weekend than that. A lot of what we dealt with thought was out of our control from poor driving to disrespectful driving, but I think it was a learning experience that we can take a lot from. We’ll do some testing in the next few weeks and then get ready to head Long Beach in a few weeks.