Andretti Autosport St. Petersburg Race Report

Andretti Autosport Sheild
Andretti Autosport
RACE REPORT
VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG
RACE REPORT
03.12.17

When the checkered flag dropped on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season, one thing was apparent to Andretti Autosport, the team needed a reset button. Six long months later, the quartet of Andretti Hondas took the 2017 season’s green flag on the streets of St. Petersburg with a fresh attitude and confidence in offseason progress.

After 110 laps of Florida street racing, Andretti Autosport departs St. Pete with four top-11 finishes, including two drivers strongly placed inside the top five.

The Verizon IndyCar Series next heads west to Long Beach, California, for Round 2 of competition on April 9.

Keep up to speed between the checkers and the greens with AndrettiAutosport.com and via our suite of social media channels.

No. 28 DHL Honda
  • Battled to a fourth-place finish after starting from the 12th position
  • Made hard contact with the wall during morning warm up after a brake failure caused by a mechanical issue; fought back from an engine calibration issue on the race’s opening lap, resulting in two unscheduled pit stops after taking the green flag
“It was a wild weekend. From the ups and downs of braking issues in second practice and then warmup this morning, we definitely earned this one. We fixed engine calibration issues early on (in the race), got out in front of the pace car by about a second or two keeping us on the lead lap. To finish today fourth was just awesome. This No. 28 DHL Honda team has done a great job all day. To fight back like that, I had to keep coming spot after spot really earning it, then there at the end I got that spot back from my teammate Sato. We had a lot of fun out there driving every last drop out of the car, and it’s great to be back in the role and into the swing of things. Hopefully we can get the DHL Honda team back on the podium where we belong, but a fourth-place finish is a good start. This whole team has done a great job; Andretti Autosport has been working hard. We had some great pace, showed good promise and I’m looking forward to the next race.”
No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda
  • Credited with leading two laps on his way to a fifth-place finish, tying his best St. Pete finish from 2011
  • Drove a strong race with podium potential, losing position on track due to an equipment error during this third pit stop
“I think it was a tremendous effort by everyone on the team. I’ve probably had one of the hardest Fridays, so it was a difficult and challenging weekend. I definitely think my teammates helped me and the whole engineering team. Given the circumstances, I think we did the best we could in qualifying and I was extremely happy with the result. Today was a tough race, but I think a fourth and fifth place finish for Andretti Autosport is a fantastic result, especially for my first race with the team.”
No. 27 hhgregg Honda
  • Took the green flag from the 15th position and fought handling on his way to a seventh-place finish, collecting valuable points to start the season
  • Today’s result marks the strongest finish for Andretti in St. Pete since 2013 when he finished third
“We started P15; I would’ve liked to have seen a better pace. We were struggling overall with grip, not going one way or the other. We hung on to salvage a top  with seventh, and that’s what we needed to do on days like this. After qualifying where we did, you gotta take a top 10. We also got a yellow in our favor today and that’s what it’s going to take to be just as lucky as good. Hopefully we can be both all year and stay strong in points for the hhgregg team.” 
No. 98 NAPA AUTO PARTS / Curb Honda
  • Rolled off the grid in eighth, finished 11th
  • Suffered a punctured tire, derailing strategy by forcing an early pit stop
“I think our pace was as good as the guys that finished in top five. We got caught up on the first yellow, then had a punctured tire on the third stint which hurt us through that stint. We had to come in early because the tire was going down, and by pitting early we had to save a huge amount of fuel at the end and couldn’t attack anything. I generally think the NAPA AUTO PARTS car and pace was good today, just two unfortunate circumstances that dictated the end result.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

 

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