Respect between a pair of veteran NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers allowed the fallout of a flat right-front tire to not be a hot-topic challenge.
Alexander Rossi and Graham Rahal had been battling for place approaching Flip 4 in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg when Rahal dove to the within of Rossi in a bid to attract alongside him. Their contact reduce Rossi’s tire, retaining him from having the ability to flip his No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda as they arrived at Flip 5. They bumped twice extra earlier than coming to a cease.
Rahal was in a position to get his No. 15 United Leases Honda backed as much as proceed in reasonably brief order, however many positions had already been misplaced, each drivers’ probability at good outcomes gone. Rahal completed fifteenth, Rossi twenty first within the 24-car area.
“I believe it was somewhat little bit of a racing incident,” Rahal mentioned. “Clearly, I had a little bit of a sluggish pit cease (simply previous to the contact); I believe he might need, as nicely. We thought we had been simply going to (cross) him.”
Rahal mentioned he “needed to make the transfer” coming into Flip 4 due to there are solely three official passing zones on this 14-turn, 1.8-mile circuit.
“(Contact) occurs,” Rahal mentioned. “Alex is a reasonably honest man, so I don’t suppose there are any exhausting emotions. It’s a disgrace for the flat proper entrance as a result of I believe we each might have gone by means of completely fantastic and continued our days. However it’s what it’s.”
Rossi mentioned he was nonetheless on chilly tires and due to this fact not but as much as full pace when the preliminary incident occurred.
“I really feel like I gave him room – I didn’t have him on the curb or something,” Andretti Autosport driver Rossi mentioned. “It’s a type of racing issues.
“Clearly, (the tv replay) it’s unlucky he ended up on the surface of me after I had the flat tire. I wasn’t making an attempt to drive him into Flip 5. The contact in Flip 4 is what sort of precipitated our challenge, and it’s a type of issues – you’re racing for a similar piece of actual property.”
Rossi’s poor end dropped him to sixteenth within the standings after two races, not the place he hoped to be in after struggling by means of final yr’s winless season. However he refused to hold his head.
“I believe frustration constructing previously has price us,” he mentioned. “The nice factor is, the automotive is quick. That’s often the tougher downside to repair. It’s loads completely different than final yr after we had been having these points and didn’t have automotive pace.
“The automotive is fast this yr, and at one level, issues will line up for us.”
Bourdais Delivers One other Sturdy End result
Members of AJ Foyt Racing have taken to calling Sebastien Bourdais the “Million Greenback Man” after his fourth-place end in final yr’s season-ending race in St. Petersburg secured their place in INDYCAR’s Leaders Circle program for 2021. That bonus is price roughly $1 million per entry yearly.
Bourdais continues to be paying dividends to the group which signed him final yr, with Sunday’s Tenth-place end paired properly with the fifth place completed he delivered final week at Barber Motorsports Park.
After two races, the driving force of the No. 14 ROKit Chevrolet is tied for sixth place within the standings, simply 16 factors out of the lead.
Bourdais, who lives solely a few mile north of the monitor in St. Petersburg, accomplished this 100-lap race when it appeared like he won’t even get began. He sat on pit street for the 2 warmup laps whereas the crew switched out the radio within the automotive’s footbox.
Then within the opening journey by means of the tight Flip 1, Bourdais had nostril contact with Josef Newgarden’s No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet and facet contact with one other Crew Penske driver, Simon Pagenaud within the No. 22 Menards/Australian Gold Chevrolet. Remarkably, Bourdais didn’t even lose a place regardless of damaging his automotive’s nostril, with an onboard digicam dangling from the entrance for many of the race.
Bourdais must be getting used to driving a wounded automotive. Final month, he drove the ultimate, successful section of IMSA’s 12 Hours of Sebring sports activities automotive race with a broken rear wing, and he completed final week’s Barber race with sidepod injury.
On ‘Highway to Indy’
David Malukas of HMD Motorsports completed the Indy Lights offered by Cooper Tires weekend with a second podium end, successful the Sunday race after ending third Saturday. The win was his second of the season, having taken the second race final week at Barber Motorsports Park. Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood, who received Saturday’s race, completed second on this one.
Christian Rasmussen of Jay Howard Driver Improvement scored a convincing 7.3-second victory within the Indy Professional 2000 race Sunday. The win was his first within the collection in three begins; he completed second Saturday.
Up Subsequent for INDYCAR
Followers of subsequent weekend’s INDYCAR doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway will get a preview of pit stops Friday in an occasion straight behind the Fort Price Library. The 2nd Cowtown Pit Cease Problem will characteristic Crew Penske vs. Chip Ganassi Racing in a four-crew battle.
Josef Newgarden and Will Energy will signify Crew Penske whereas Tony Kanaan and Alex Palou will compete for the Ganassi group. The occasion begins at midday native time on 2nd Avenue between Taylor and Burnett Streets.
The Genesys 300 can be held Saturday at 7 p.m. (ET) with the XPEL 375 on Sunday at 5 p.m. (ET). Each races will air dwell on NBCSN with observe periods and qualifying on Peacock Premium, NBC’s streaming service accessible at www.peacocktv.com.
INDYCAR’s competitor area definitely will look completely different. Kanaan will take Jimmie Johnson’s place, Carlin will announce this week who will drive its No. 59 Chevrolet that Max Chilton pilots in street and street-course races, Ed Carpenter returns to his No. 20 Chevrolet pushed thus far this yr by Daly, and Pietro Fittipaldi steps in for fellow rookie Romain Grosjean within the No. 51 Honda of Dale Coyne Racing with RWR. Twenty-four car-and-driver mixtures are once more anticipated.
Dixon dominated final yr’s Texas race, main 157 of the 200 laps as a part of three consecutive victories to open his sixth championship-winning season. Dixon has 4 wins on the 1.5-mile oval, tied with Helio Castroneves for the game’s all-time lead on the monitor.
Odds and Ends
- Alex Palou, the driving force of the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing, continues to carry the collection lead, however his benefit is simply two factors over a pair of former collection champions — teammate Scott Dixon and Crew Penske’s Will Energy. Energy claims second place in a tiebreaker as a result of he has the higher end this season, second final weekend at Barber. Dixon, who drives the No. 9 PNC Financial institution Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, is off to begin in his bid to earn a record-tying seventh INDYCAR championship, ending fifth Sunday after a third-place end at Barber. Energy has completed second and eighth within the No. 12 Verizon 5G Crew Penske Chevrolet. After successful the Barber race, Palou was seventeenth in Spherical 2.
- Pato O’Ward, the driving force of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, had one of many strongest vehicles at Barber, the place he received the pole and completed fourth. However this weekend was completely different. He by no means appeared to have his automotive rolling in the identical method, and his sixth-place begin was diminished to a Nineteenth-place end after late-race contact with Ed Jones, the driving force of the No. 18 SealMaster Honda of Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan.
- Takuma Sato was one of many greatest movers of the race within the No. 15 Panasonic/Protect Cleaners Honda of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, advancing 9 positions within the race to complete sixth. Proper behind him was Marcus Ericsson within the No. 8 Huski Chocolate of Chip Ganassi Racing. He, too, improved 9 spots to complete seventh. Energy improved 12 spots from his twentieth beginning place.
- Total, INDYCAR’s rookies fared moderately nicely given they’d no preseason monitor time on this short-term road circuit. Crew Penske’s Scott McLaughlin (No. 3 DEX Imaging Chevrolet) completed eleventh, with Romain Grosjean of Dale Coyne Racing with RWR (No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda) within the thirteenth place and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Carvana Honda) twenty second. Johnson had an off early within the race approaching the ultimate nook, then spun in Flip 3 late within the race. This was his first race of any variety on a road circuit.
- Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay (No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet) completed seventh in simply the second street-course race of his INDYCAR profession. He completed fifteenth on this occasion final yr.
- A pair of NFL large receivers had ceremonial roles for Sunday’s race. Marquez Valdes-Scantling of the Inexperienced Bay Packers gave the command to start out engines whereas Scott Miller of the Tremendous Bowl-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers rode with Mario Andretti within the Ruoff Mortgage Quickest Seat in Sports activities two-seater.