Quick Thoughts- Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

I like this trend. For the second year in a row, the winner of the season opener is a second year driver winning his first race. Scott McLaughlin had to battle Alex Palou for the win. It was not an easy win despite his starting from pole on a street course.

The battle for the lead over the last 15 laps was a great way to start the season.

I don’t recall a St. Pete race with just one yellow. The long green stints may have changed some strategy, which made this race intriguing.

Rinus VeeKay is back. He backed up a strong qualifying effort with a sixth place finish. VeeKay also led 13 laps during an extended stint.

Nice Debuts

In spite of several on track adventures in practice the last two days, Romain Grosjean had a solid debut with Andretti Autosport with a fifth place finish.

Takuma Sato earned a 10th place result after starting 22nd in his first race for Dale Coyne Racing.

Christian Lundgaard was the top finishing rookie in 11th.

Whatever Happened to…

Josef Newgarden was never a factor in the race. He started ninth, but went to an alternate three stop strategy, which had him mired in 16th at the end. newgarden has seemed a step behind his teammates all weekend.

Alexander Rossi dropped to 20th from starting 13th. He led 10 laps during pit cycles. I’m not sure what’s going with the 27 team.

Kyle Kirkwood started strong but ended 18th.

Arrow McLaren drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist each improved four spots from their starting spots, but O’Ward’s 12 the was the best they could muster. Rosenqvist came home in17th.

Fans Came Back

Today was the ninth time I have attended this race. The crowd was the largest I have seen. For many fans this was their first race in nearly three years. I think more local people attended than have come in a while as well.

I will have more on the race tomorrow. Thanks for following all weekend.