Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet No.2 of Juan Pablo Montoya took a dominant victory at the Verizon IndyCar Series opener at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg, his second win a St Pete in succession after winning here last year.
Montoya’s Penske team mate Simon Pagenaud ended the race in second place giving the Captain a 1-2 finish to start the year in perfect fashion.
Montoya’s victory was made even better by the fact that his steering was broken. It was a great day for the No.28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda of Rya Hunter Reay as he came home in third place to complete the podium.
Helio Castroneves who started from second in the No.3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet ended the race in fourth place just ahead of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Mikhail Aleshin who drove an incredible race in the No.7 Honda to come home in 5th place just ahead of the No.14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda of Takuma Sato who along with his team mate Jack Hawksworth had been impressive all weekend.
Reigning series champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Team Chevrolet recovered from a lengthily trip to pit-road to deal with an overheating car to finish the race in seventh place just ahead of Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz.
Tony Kanaan in the No.10 NTT Data Ganassi machine worked his way from the rear of the grid to end the race in ninth place while Charlie Kimball in the No.83 NovoNordisk Ganassi entry rounded out the top ten.
Jack Hawksworth ended the race in the No.41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda in 11th place just ahead of over Alexander Rossi who was extremely impressive for in the No.98 Castrol Edge Andretti Herta Autosport Honda on his Verizon IndyCar Series debut as he ended the race in 12th place.
Dale Coyne Racing’s Conor Daly had a fantastic day as he lead the race for an extremely long time in the No.18 Honda thanks to a clever strategy from the team, he ended the race in 13th place just ahead of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Spencer Pigot who impressed on his debut in the No.16 Honda.
Andretti Autosport’s No.27 Snapple Honda of Marco Andretti had a tough day at the office as he spun causing carnage behind him with 11 cars involved in the pile up, including, Graham Rahal and Sebastien Bourdais.
Andretti was classified in 15th place just ahead of Rahal’s Steak N’Shake No.15 Honda while Chip Ganassi Racing’s rookie Max Chilton in the No.8 Gallagher Chevrolet ended the event in 17th place. Verizon Team Penske’s Oriol Servia in Will Power’s No.12 ended the race in 18th place just ahead of the No.5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda of James Hinchcliffe who had a disastrous return to IndyCar suffering a right rear flat tyre early on in the race that dropped him to the back of the pack. The Canadian ended the race in 19th place just ahead of Dale Coyne Racing’s Luca Filippi.
KVSH Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais and Ed Carpenter Racing’s Josef Newgarden were the only two retirements from the event.
Next up for the Verizon IndyCar Series is the Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway at the start of April