ICYMI: Power Restored in St. Pete

After three practice session dominated by Honda, I heard a lot of discussion about whether Chevy was sandbagging. After qualifying, it does not appear that was totally true. Four Hondas made the Firestone Fast 6, a better representation than at any race last year. However, a Chevy won the pole. One thing we need to keep in mind is there are 13 Honda cars and only 8 Chevys. The odds are in Honda’s favor.  However, I believe given this same proportion last year, the first rows would have been all Chevys. Honda has definitely made strides this season. Scott Dixon beat Power’s track record in Round 2 today.

In the end, Will Power is again on the Pole. This is the 7th Pole here and the 45th of his career. When he retires, Power will go down as one the great qualifiers in IndyCar history. He has some unfinished business from last year, when he missed the race. Power has a good shot at finishing where he starts.

The two biggest disappointments in qualifying belong to Marco Andretti and Sebastien Bourdais.  Andretti led FP1 and was strong in the other practices rounds. He did not even advance out of Round 1, mirroring many of his results from last year.  Bourdais crashed in his qualifying group.  Some teams, notably Rahal, still experienced brake issues.

Brakes will be a concern tomorrow. I have seen many lockups in turn 1. Overheating brakes going into turn 1 could be a huge worry.  This is a heavy braking track. Failures and overheating will need to be monitored closely tomorrow.

It will be an interesting race. Josef Newgarden starts from fourth. He gets special mention because the winner has started from outside row 2 the last four years. A chance of rain late in the race will also mix things up. The forecast as of 10:30 Saturday night as I write calls for a 40% chance of morning showers, then cloudy.

Tomorrow when we wake up, we can finally turn to our partners and say those three little words, “It’s Race Day!”

Indy Lights Notes:

First, a salute to Carlin Racing for honoring John Surtees, who died Friday.

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The Indy Lights race today was one of the best I’ve seen from this series. There were many battles for position and several passes for position.  The star of the race was Colton Herta, who started fifth and fought his way to second. He had some tough battles to get by a couple drivers, but showed patience and made moves at the right time.  Aaron Telitz won the race going away. He led from start to finish with a steady pace and got through lapped traffic with little trouble.

My final race report will be out Monday. Enjoy the race. I think this season may be more fun than I thought.

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