Chip Ganassi Racing had an impressive start to the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season on the opening day of action at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg with their renewed partnership with Honda.
Scott Dixon driving the No.9 GE LED Lighting Honda ended the day as the fastest driver overall after setting the third fastest time in the morning session and speaking following the day of action he commented by saying:
I think it started generally well. This weekend, the car, we’ve done some good homework in the offseason for ourselves, how the competition stacks up. I think tomorrow will be interesting once the other competitors turn it up. We’ll see where it goes. Generally comfortable, in a different rhythm from what I had here previously with the car, with some fundamental changes we made through winter. It’s Friday. It doesn’t pay anything, doesn’t mean anything. Hopefully what we learned today, we can continue on and help improve the car come tomorrow, and more importantly for the race on Sunday.
Tony Kanaan in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda ended the opening session in second place before ending the day with the third fastest time and speaking following his day in the car the Brazilian commented by saying:
I think a P2 and P3 result in both practices is a good way to start the weekend, but I wouldn’t say I’m comfortable yet with the car heading into qualifying. I think we definitely have some things to work out tonight and focus on tomorrow during the morning session to make sure we’re on the mark for qualifying.
In the opening practice on Friday morning, Charlie Kimball in the No.83 Tresiba® Honda ended the session in eighth place while in the second session, Kimball ended the day in fourth place having completed 40 laps for the day. Speaking following the day in the car, Kimball commented by saying:
That’s a solid first day here on the streets of St. Petersburg. I’m pretty happy with P8 and P4. We need a little bit to catch our teammates. The Honda cars are obviously working really well, so we’ll see how it goes tomorrow afternoon when the times really count during qualifying. The Novo Nordisk guys were solid all day – quick on the changes here in pit lane. Eric (Cowdin, engineer) is doing a really good job giving me what I need to drive the car. This track is always a lot of fun, but I think it’s especially enjoyable this year with the repaving.
Max Chilton ended the opening session 10th place completing 21 laps while in the afternoon session, the Englishman completed 16 laps ending the day in 13th place and speaking following his first day of the new season in the No.8 Gallagher Honda, Chilton commented by saying:
I think we started strong. Everyone is dealing with the change to the track in Turn 3, and so it is what it is. Top 10 in the first session wasn’t bad, and we’ll look to continue to find ways to improve the Gallagher Honda in practice tomorrow morning.