Andretti Autosport celebrated a wonderful day at the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg presented by RP Funding as Romain Grosjean in the No.28 DHL Honda scored his second career NTT P1 Award.
Speaking about the session he said:
We obviously did really well today and I’m very excited we were able to get the pole today. The whole team was really strong with three cars in the top five. Our last lap was mega and I really enjoyed driving the No. 28 DHL Honda. We had some good setup changes that obviously worked out well for us, so I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow. We’ve got 100 laps of hard work ahead of us, but we’re going to try to make it happen!”
Grosjean’s teammate Colton Herta in the No.26 Gainbridge Honda starts the race alongside the Frenchman in second place and speaking following the action he said:
It was a decent day for the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda. We just missed out on the pole, but starting in the front row especially here in St. Pete is a good place to be. We’ll be starting P2 tomorrow next to my teammate Romain and I think we have a really good chance at a strong result. Super excited for tomorrow’s race and to see what we can do from the front.
Kyle Kirkwood in the No.27 AutoNation Honda had a fantastic day for the team and starts the race from fifth place despite crashing in the final seconds of the Fast 12.
Overall it was a fantastic day. What happened there in qualifying doesn’t show what we’ve actually done all through the offseason and in preseason testing. We put three cars in the Firestone Fast 6, which isn’t an easy thing to do and we did it. Unfortunately, we had to run two sets of tires in the first quali group because a car checked us up and we also had a yellow we had to go through. We instantly had to go to a new set, which put us on our back foot for the Firestone Fast 6. That was a little unfortunate because I knew I had to get everything I could out of the car that I could to get into the top three. Now that we’ve had time to look back and see what happened, I just locked up going into the last corner. A few contributing factors were that I used a little bit too much brake pressure and the brakes were a touch too cold which was on me for not warming them enough. The No. 27 AutoNation Honda was phenomenal in practice on old tires and new tires, so I’m really looking forward to rolling into tomorrow’s race with three Andretti cars in the top five.”
Devlin DeFrancesco in the No.29 Capstone Honda starts the race from P18 and speaking following the action he commented saying:
Missing the majority of FP2 because I tapped the wall made for a fairly tough qualifying for the No. 29 Capstone Honda, but I think we got something half decent out of it. I think we have a very good race car – our pace on the used tires was very strong. We’re focusing on making the car better tomorrow and how we can improve heading into the race. I think we can still get a decent result tomorrow and use this as a learning experience.”
It was also a fantastic day for Andretti Autosport in INDY NXT presented by Firestone as rookie Louis Foster scored pole for his first ever race in INDY NXT presented by Firestone.