St Petersburg Friday Practice

The first race weekend of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season is officially in the books. Teams and drivers got their first taste of real practice with the new aero kits on the streets of St Petersburg today. There weren’t many surprises in the first practice session, as Team Penske and Chevrolet flexed their muscle.

Defending series champion Will Power led all drivers in the first practice session, with a best lap of 1:01.4709 around the 14-turn street circuit. Two of his Penske running mates (Juan Montoya, Helio Castroneves) were right behind him. Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais rounded out the top five, which all had a best lap that was faster than last year’s Pole-winning speed by Takuma Sato.

Sato’s new teammate, Jack Hawksworth, was the fastest Honda in the first practice session. Nine of the top 11 cars were all powered by Chevrolet.

Click here to see Full Results from Practice 1

Shortly after the first practice session ended, the rain began to fall in St Petersburg. The heavy rain and standing water prevented essentially all on-track activity for the rest of the day. There weren’t any teams willing to run on the wet course, for good reason. There was no point in running in the rain as both Saturday and Sunday will be dry. There’s not much to gain, and the risk of slipping and damaging a race car without many spare parts was too high.

Below are highlights from today’s practice.

Qualifications for the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg begin tomorrow at 4:15 PM. There will be three rounds of qualifying to determine the starting order for Sunday’s season opening race. Before qualifications, there will be one final 45-minute practice session beginning at 12:30 on Saturday.

You can watch Practice and Qualifying on Saturday, via IndyCar’s YouTube channel.

Practice Photos via IndyCar

12 thoughts on “St Petersburg Friday Practice

  1. Thanks for the pix. From my vantage point (computer monitor) it is impossible to distinguish between the Honda and the Chevy except for a straight on side view showing the Honda dorsal fin. In fact they really don’t look any different from the pre-aero kit cars. I was particularly amused when the always exuberant Paul Page described then as being “radically different.” In addition the aero kits have severely reduced sponsor space on the cars and essentially eliminated the prime side pod area.

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    • The main spots to compare are the rear ends above the tires, the front wings, and right behind the driver. Honda has a longer “fin” which extends straight a little further. Penske is using the space wisely, putting sponsors on the back behind the driver. The Andretti cars look like they have so much empty space on the rear. On a related note, I absolutely love the look of the IL-15 (Indy Lights car). It’s absolutely gorgeous IMO.

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    • No need to use them, because it’s going to be sunny and warm tomorrow for qualifying, and for race day on Sunday. Nothing to gain, a lot to lose if they slide around and crash. Not enough replacement parts right now.

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    • The glass is not half empty – it’s twice as big as it needs to be. Sorry to offend but I will continue to push buttons until IndyCar either lives up to its potential or an alternate American open wheel series takes its place. Champ Car racing was once the best racing in the world now it is a shadow of what it was and this is all because it is managed by accountants instead of racers.

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      • Look, I’m all for constructive criticism where it’s due, but I see your comments all over the place and it seems like negative-toned ones outnumber positive-toned ones by a solid 10-to-1 ratio, and maybe more. If my ratio of “complain” to “enjoy” was that far in that direction, I’d probably just stop watching and find some other hobby that caused me less aggravation. There are things that can and should be fixed, but you seem to see things in such a myopic light that instead of just understanding that the teams see little value in risking their one and only front wing assemblies (though more are on the way for the next group of races) in the only rain session they’ll see all weekend (so there’s basically no upside and a LOT of potential downside in turning laps), you see some sort of management shortfall when it comes to tire design and supply (which, really, dude? You think the professionals that have been in charge of tires for years don’t know what the wheel openings were going to be? And, besides, the wheel openings at the rear are the same size as last year, they just look smaller because of all the surrounding bits). And those “accountants” in charge? They’re trying to make sure that the Series makes money, because if it’s not making money, it’ll cease to operate. And then what are we left with?

        All’s I’m saying is that your comments indicate that basically everything is wrong with IndyCar, and it appears that that’s because it’s just not something that you hold dear from the past (which I get…CART and ChampCar were awesome in their own ways, but the past is in the past). That’s not a way to get heard, it’s a way to get folks to tune you out.

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      • I can’t understand why you worry about what I think unless you’re concerned that my comments are somehow a threat to IndyCar. I’m expressing my opinion just like you are and I have never once on any forum complained that a poster liked IndyCar too much. I’m not willing to sit back and watch open wheel racing in US die a slow and painful death without speaking up. if you’re willing to accept mediocrity fine be a cheerleader but don’t try to force that on all of us. If the author of this blog wants me to stop posting all he has to do os ask.

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