Indycar has done it again in my opinion, St. Pete was a great opener to what is sure to be a fantastic season! The fans were out in amazing numbers and were more than ready to get the year rolling. And boy did the drivers and teams deliver!
I am going to just give a few of my (Jess) opinions of the weekend, but in particular race day. It seemed like some people were less than thrilled with the way things went in qualifications and on race day. I don’t really agree with that feeling.
Quals – Yes we all saw what happened in group one. Most people thought it was a flat out travesty for the drivers who didn’t get a flying lap in. I see it a little different. It is always a risk a team takes by not going and putting in a lap right off the bat. Staying on pit lane and hoping that everything goes in your favor to run a couple laps in the end is just risky. I think that some of they guys who got the advantage for going out earlier in the session did the right thing. We all know its all about tires, but you just never know what could happen. I did like that the Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist both said it was like christmas for them.
Race Day! – I woke up so unbelievably tired, but so excited at the same exact time. As we got closer to start time you could feel the electricity in the air. People were so happy to get this season under way. The crowd was fantastic, the people were cheering and happy to be sitting in the beautiful florida sunshine. It wasn’t an overly dramatic race, but a few things stuck out to me. Feel free to chime in on here or social media (bakerjm13), as I would love to get your thoughts as well.
First, I am going to start with Rosenqvist, in my opinion he has the drive of the day! I mean he led quite a few laps and was just willing to throw down with the “big boys”. Was very fun to watch, and I can see him becoming a fan favorite very fast. I also thought Herta and Ferrucci did very good as well. Maybe not as flashy as Rosenqvist, but still ran a good race and got a good start on their seasons.
Newgarden had a heck of a strategy on tires, and it paid off huge in the end. I really didn’t expect him to come out and win, but I am happy he got the monkey off his back.
The one thing that shocked me more than the rookies doing so well, was the problems with engines that were suffered fairly early in the day. I would have thought if there would be engine issues they would have come later. Bourdais and Hunter- Reay, however; both suffered fairly early on. Hopefully for the sake of the Honda teams they figure out the issues sooner rather than later!
I was happy with the cleanness of the racing, and having only one real incident was quite nice to see for the first race of the season. Hopefully Ed Jones heals up and is able to race in COTA. He should be ok though as he has a couple weeks.
I look forward to this whole season! I will be writing opinion blogs on a semi regular basis from now on, leaving the news to Mike (@15daysinmay). Please feel free to find me and let me know if you want to hear what i think on any topic. I will be happy to cover it. I may also try to line up a few interviews as the season goes on. We look forward to bringing you the best content we can!