Quick Thoughts- Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Photo: Chris Owens, Indycar

I am officially old. I saw Bryan Jetta win races as an adult and have now seen his son win races.

Colton Herta put on a master driving clinic today., He led all but three laps and pulled away from Josef Newgarden on two late restarts.

Herta has tied his father Bryan on the career victory list with his fourth win today. He will pass his dad later this season.

The tire choices to start the 4ace made for some interesting tactic. The field was split evenly between primary and alternates. Hearts said after the race he didn’t notice much difference.

Still waiting for Alexander Rossi to have a decent weekend. Rossi expected to fight for the title but is mired in 16th place after two frustrating weekends.

While their finishes at Barber may hurt their championship chances a bit, both Herta and Newgarden did what they needed to do to get back in the hunt.

Pato O’Ward struggled in the morning warmup and was never a factor in the race. Fortunately, it is still early in the season, but he needs good results at Texas next weekend.

Will Power and Scott Dixon have shown early season consistency. Dixon is the only driver with two Top 5s. Power is one of three drivers with two Top 10s. Dixon and Power are tied for second, two points behind Palou. Palou’s lead is two because he led two laps today.

Sebastien Bourdais has brought the Foyt car home in the top 10 the past three races, going back to the 2020 season finale. It was a bit of a tough day, but if they can have a decent showing on the ovals, atop 10 points finish is possible.

Despite Herta being way out front most of the day, there was some great action back in the pack, Takuma Sato moved up nine spots from where hje started, and Power improved 12 positions.

Turn one was a festival of cars banging together. Only a few times did the collisions affect someone’s race. James Hinchcliffe was hit hard by Sato and fell back.

Chip Ganassi Racing is more than Dixon in 2021. Last Week Alex Palou won the race. Today Marcus Ericsson came from 16th to finish seventh. Paired with Dixon’s fifth place finish, Ganasssi ahs put two cars in the top 10 in both races.

While the youngsters have had fun these past two weekends, the ovals is where the veterans take over. Ovals are a veterans’ game.

Notes

The crowd seemed bigger than the 20,000 limit.

The social distance seating plan was not adhered to. In Grandstand 10,several rows were completely filled an consecutive rows had fans in them. None of the stand attendants monitored the situation. I hope IMS will have stricter policies about the grandstands in May.

It was nice to be back at the St. Pete Grand Prix. This the first event I have been to since 2019 that had more of a normal feel to it.

Thanks to everyone who followed along this weekend.

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