The Team Penske driver earned his 45th IndyCar career pole position today on the Streets of St. Petersburg. It’s safe to say he has a very stable relationship with the circuit. He has now grabbed 7 poles out of 11 attempts. Tomorrow will be his 6th start from P1, given that he earned the same position last year but due to illness, was not cleared by medical to compete on race day. He’s one of two active drivers to win on these streets more than once. He came home victorious in both 2010 & 2014. The former of those years was also one of his seven P1 starts.
Nothing is promised in racing though, and Power has some stiff competition heading into tomorrow’s race. Let’s take a look at the top 5 drivers from today’s qualifying session since all but two St. Pete race winners have qualified P5 or better.
Scott Dixon is starting on the outside of the front row from P2, narrowly missing the pole. Dixon is piloting a Ganassi Honda No. 9 this year, with a full-season sponsor yet to be announced. For now, he sports the GE Lighting LED livery. His best finish is P2, three times over. He has also three DNFs, so it could go either way. As mentioned, starting position is incredibly important at this track so that could bode well for the New Zealand native.
James Hinchcliffe is making his career best start at St. Pete tomorrow, from P3. His previous best start was P4. It was from that position that he won in 2013.
Speaking of that starting position – the driver to qualify P4 in the past 4 years of competition on this circuit, has won the race. Josef Newgarden has got to feel good about that, even though he joked about feeling pressure now. He actually seemed very relaxed and confident preparing for his first race with Team Penske. And that is the mentality needed to maintain composure and bring home wins.
Takuma Sato’s best finish was P5 in 2011. That’s the same position he will start from on Sunday in the No. 26 Honda. It will also mark Sato’s first start with Andretti Autosport.
Verizon IndyCar Series track times for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg:
Friday, March 10th:
Practice #1 – 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET
Practice #2 – 3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. ET
Saturday, March 11th:
Practice #3 – 10.50 a.m. – 11:35 a.m. ET
Qualifying: – 2:55 p.m. – 4:10:p.m. ET
Sunday, March 12th:
– TURN YOUR CLOCKS AHEAD ONE HR FOR DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME! –
Warm Up – 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. ET
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET (Live on ABC w Green Flag at 12:30 p.m. ET)
All non-race sessions are livestreamed.
All links to livestream and IndyCar radio coverage is available here.