HPD Trackside -- IndyCar St. Petersburg Race Report


Sebastien Bourdais and his Dale Coyne Racing team used a fast Honda and perfect race strategy to come from 21st and last on the starting grid to win Sunday’s Verizon IndyCar Series season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

A crash in qualifying on Saturday left Bourdais starting shotgun on the field at the green flag for the 110-lap event, but a series of passes and early caution flags saw him move to 12th after just 10 laps. Another caution on Lap 25 – in the midst of scheduled first-round pit stops – presented him with a huge opportunity, and Bourdais was quick to take advantage, restarting in second and then passing for the lead on Lap 37.

From there, Bourdais was in control, leading 69 of 110 laps enroute to his 36th career IndyCar victory, moving him to sole possession of 6th on the all-time win’s list.

In his return to Honda with Chip Ganassi Racing, Scott Dixon started from the outside of the front row and was running second to fellow Honda driver James Hinchcliffe in the opening laps. But both were caught out by not having pitted when the Lap 25 caution came out for debris on the circuit following contact between Tony Kanaan and Mikhail Aleshin. A combination of excellent fuel mileage and passes enabled Dixon to recover to third at the checkers.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was another comeback story on the day as he was forced to pit on the opening lap for a mechanical issue. Fortunately, his Andretti Autosport team was able to make repairs while keeping Hunter-Reay on the lead lap, and he also benefitted from pitting prior to the Lap 25 caution.

Hunter-Reay then moved through the field from 10th to pass teammate Takuma Sato for fourth place on the final lap. For his part, Sato led two laps, as Honda drivers led all but 18 laps of the 110-lap event.

Hinchcliffe led 21 laps after starting third for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and passing for the lead on Lap 6. Having to make his first scheduled stop during the caution dropped him down the order, and he was unable to make significant gains in the second half of the contest. He finished ninth as Honda drivers claimed seven of the top-10 finishing positions today.

Rookie Ed Jones ably backed up his victorious Dale Coyne Racing teammate by rounding out the top 10 in his IndyCar Series debut.

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About this video

Duration 03:32
Posted Mar 28, 2017
Series IndyCar
Event St. Pete
Sub-event Sunday race
Location St. Petersburg Street Course
Drivers Sébastien Bourdais
Teams Dale Coyne Racing
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