Good morning. Today’s schedule: (All Times Eastern)
10:40-11:10 Warm up NBC Gold
2:32 Green Flag NBC 2:30-4:30 100 laps
A reminder – cars will be on the pace lap when the television broadcast begins.
Scott Dixon just needs to maintain his starting position to win his sixth championship. The window of possibilities for Josef Newgarden shrunk a bit when he didn’t win the pole yesterday. His eighth startoing spot will make it hard for Newgarden to get the 53 maximum points today. Both drivers need to get through turn 1 of lap 1 cleanly.
The leaders’ Circle final spot is still up for grabs. Marco Andretti will start 23. The 98 is seven points out of the Circle at the moment and will need to move up to have a chance. Sebastien Bourdais’ seventh starting spot should help the 14 car keep the final spot. Conor Daly starts 14th. The 20 car is six points ahead of the 14 in 20th.
Simon Pagenaud was headed for his best qualifying effort of the year until his late spin cost him his two best laps. Still he starts 12th, which is an improvement. Pagenaud has not let where he starts affect his racing. he could be a factor today.
Rookie of the Year
When the green flag flies, Rinus VeeKay will earn Rookie of the Year honors. VeeKay, dribving for Ed Carpenter Racing, got off to an awful start this season at Texas. He crashed in qualifying and crashed early in the race, also taking out rookie Alex Palou. The rest of the season VeeKay showed tremendous improvement, capturing a pole and a podium spot at the Harvest Grand Prix.
Notes from the Ground
I received several messages yesterday from friends at the track. My friend Ed Murray said there wer fewer vendors, which was to be expected.. he said people were complying with mask wearing.
I later saw a photo from the stands where several fans were not wearing masks. I later heard from others that track staff was reminding people about the policy.
The track claims that nearly all tickets have sold.
I wonder how much of the grandstands will remain standing for the March race.
I applaud the efforts of Indycar, Green Savoree, and the city of St. Petersburg to put this race together for a second time this year.
I’ll be back with a quick warm up recap and then my race quick toughts this afternoon.