Andretti Autosport head into the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg this weekend following a number of changes within the team over the winter.
The big change is that Takuma Sato who won the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil has moved to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Zach Veach replaces Sato and will drive the No.26 Group One Thousand One Honda and speaking ahead of the opening race of the season, Veach commented by saying:
The last pre-season test is behind us now and I couldn’t be more excited for St. Pete. We’ve made big strides in the Group One Thousand One car over the last couple months and I feel ready to show what we can do on the streets and start our 2018 campaign. I can’t thank everyone at Group One Thousand One, Andretti and my crew enough for the effort they put in over the winter all in preparation for this weekend!
Alexander Rossi, the winner of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil moves from the No.98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda to the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda and speaking ahead of the opening race of the season Rossi commented by saying:
I’m really happy to finally get the season started. Our fight for the championship starts in St. Pete and we’re really hungry to start collecting points. We have continuity that we haven’t necessarily had going into the season opener, with my engineer, crew and strategist all being the same. We have grown to work well together and I think our chemistry will set us apart and help us rise to the top. Hopefully, we’ll have the NAPA AUTO PARTS car on the top step of the podium Sunday afternoon.
Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda has eleven starts at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg and his best finish to date is a second place which came at the 2009 event and speaking ahead of the start of the new season, Hunter Reay commented by saying:
We’ve been counting down the days until we could get the DHL Honda back on track and now we’re finally ready to get the 2018 season started. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete is one of my favorite races of the year. It’s my home race and you really can’t beat the track layout or the setting. I’ve been on the podium four times at St. Pete, all second and third place finishes, so we really want to win this year.
Marco Andretti heads into the new season having moved from the No.27 Honda to the No.98 Ruoff Home Mortgages Honda with Curb Honda and speaking ahead of the start of the new season he commented by saying:
I’m really excited to get the season started. It’s the first time we’ll be racing the new car and this car is much more compatible to my racing style then the car we’ve had the past few years. St. Pete always means a fresh start and I have complete confidence in my crew and the No. 98 Ruoff Home Mortgage / Curb Honda to give it all we’ve got and kick the year off right.