Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson in the No.8 Huski Cholate Honda took an incredible victory in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg presented by RP Funding following a chaotic 100-lap race in which we saw race leader Romain Grosjean taken out of the race after contact with second-placed Scott McLaughlin who was the defending race winner from a year ago.
The race was red-flagged following a huge crash involving multiple cars on the opening lap of the race which saw Andretti Autosport’s Devlin DeFrancesco go airborne.
Pato O’Ward who led the closing stages of the race came home in second following a slight engine issue on the main straightaway which allowed Marcus Ericsson to claim his first St Pete win. Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Honda will have to wait another year to get his first St Pete win as the Iceman came from ninth on the grid to come home in third place.
On his race debut for Arrow McLaren, Alexander Rossi came home in fourth place just ahead of Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Callum Ilott who scored his career-best result with fifth just ahead of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal who came from 20th on the grid to finish the race in sixth place just ahead of WIll Power who was penalized for avoidable contact with Andretti Autossport’s Colton Herta who was forced to retire from the race following contact with the tire wall.
Alex Palou finished eighth just ahead of Christian Lundgaard, while David Malukas rounded out the top ten for Dale Coyne Racing. Rookie drivers Marcus Armstrong of Chip Ganassi Racing and Agustin Canapino of Juncos Hollinger Racing had fantastic race debuts as they came home 11th and 12th respectively.
Scott Mclaughlin was 13th having been forced to serve a drive-through penalty for the collision with Grosjean. Conor Daly was 14th just ahead of Kyle Kirkwwod who was caught up in the first lap incident but Andretti Autosport managed to get him back out to gain valuable track time for his new new team.
Sting Ray Robb was classified in P16 on his race debut for Dale Coyne with RWr just ahead of Josef Newgarden who suffered a late race fire and was forced to retire from the race. Romain Grosjean was classified in 18th just ahead of Felix Rosenqvist and Colton Herta while Rinus VeeKay was 21st as Jack HArvey who was transported to hospital following his accident for precautionary checks was classified in 22nd just ahead of Helio Castroneves and Santino ferrucci.
Devlin DeFrancesco who was cleared and released from the care center after going airborne was classified in 25th place just ahead of Simon Pagenaud while Benjamin Pedersen was 27th for AJ Foyt Racing. Next up for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES is PPG 375 from Texas Motor Speedway, the first oval race of the season which takes place on April 2.