Harvey Not Cleared to Drive; Some Other Notes

Jack Harvey, injured in a crash during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 5, has still not been medically cleared to drive. The driver of the number 30 car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will miss today’s team test at Barber Motorsports Park.

The nature of the injury is not known, but I believe it has something to do with his wrists.

Juri Vips, a former F2 driver, will fill in today. Harvey will be reevaluated before the Texas race. In 2022 he missed the Texas race after suffering a concussion in the final practice.

Harvey was rumored to be in a make or break year, and the injury and missing time in the car is not helping his cause. Vips also tested with the team last October.

Albert Whitted Airport Getting Another Look

The airport in St. Petersburg is getting another look by the mayor’s office for a possible conversion to another use. When Ken Welch became mayor two years ago, surveys were conducted to see if the city could make better use of thland. Now, the process is beginning again. One of the runways serves as the front stretch and pits for the Grand Prix.

Photo from Tampa Bay Times

The race has just extended its agreement with Indycar for two more years. It will take at least that long for any plans to surface, so I wouldn’t be concerned just yet.

The front stretch (R) is a runway at Albert Whitted Airport the rest of the year

I remember the first time this subject came up, something was mentioned about the FAA having a say in the matter. Stay tuned, but for now, we’re still racing in St. Pete.

Indycar Drivers at Sebring

This weekend’s Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring will feature five full time Indycar drivers and a driver entered in the Indianapolis 500. Three of the drivers are from Andretti Autosport- Devlin DeFrancesco in the number 51 LMP 2 car, Kyle Kirkwood in the Vasser-Sullivan Lexus number 14 GTD Pro, and Romain Grosjean in the number 3 Lamborghini, also in GTD Pro.

Scott Dixon will drive the 01 Cadillac GTP for Ganassi, and Helio Castroneves will drive for his Indycar boss, Mike Shank, in the number 60 GTP Acura.

Katherine Legge will drive car 66, an Acura NSX, in the GTD class.

I will have more Sebring coverage later this week.

Beauty Out of Chaos- Quick Thoughts on St. Pete

Like a sculptor who has to make several attempts to make a poiece of art,who makes big mistakes and destroys the work in search of pergection, the beginning of the NTT Indycar season at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg began in chaos and ended in a great three way fight for the lead.

The last 20 laps or so had great racing as Marcus Ericsson tracked down Pato O’Ward to take the win. Scott Dixon hing on to third but never really threatened the top two.

I can’t recall watching a race where two cars became airborne in two separate incidents.

The promiose of a great weekend for Andretti Autosport ended in the walls and tire walls of St.Petersburg. Colton Herta and Romain Grosjean threw away their front row starts. Kyle Kirkwood recovered from contact to salvage 16th place.

Whuch leads me to wonder-is Kirkwood the driver I believed him to be? He had a fresh start with a strong team, showed speed until his qualifying incident yesterday, thenhas more contact during the race. I guess we need to wait a little longer to find out.

Great job by Callum Ilott finishing fifrth. The top fic=ve is big boost to Juncos Hollinh=ger. Augustin canapino did a solid job finishing the race.

Alexander Rossi finished fourth in his Arrow McLaren debut. I hope we will see this type of performance consistently from him in 2023.

The Andretti/Mclaren rivalry may becoma a Ganassi/McLaren battle. Tody’s results had Ganassi first and third and McLaren second and fourth. This matchup would be an intriguing battle as the two teasms who have tussled over drivers go head rto head. Sixteen more times, please.

The Foyt’s team misfortunes continue. I don’t know how one team can consistently be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Indycar app did not work in the stands. I also heard from others at the track who had issues with it. It has not worked well all weekend. Let’s hope by Texas it is working properly.

I wonder why Indycar didn’y sweep the track during any of the caution periods,

Turfn three see,e=med the root of many of the troubles. The series might want to look at it before next March.

I will have a follow up story on the nrace tomorrow. Thanks for following along this weekend.

Race Day at St. Pete

Good morning race fans! The long Indycar winter ends today as the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg gets underway at approximately 12:20 pm Easten.

Today’s schedule:

8:00AM – 8:45AM USF2000 Race 2

9:00AM – 9:30AM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Warm UpPeacock

10:00AM – 10:55AM INDY NXT Race- Peacock

11:40AM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Driver Introductions

12:30PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RPFunding Race (100 Laps) NBC, Peacock

3:00PM – 3:45PM USF Pro 2000 Race 2

The last two races have been won by the polesitter, although in the overall history of the race, winning from the pole is not that common. I am still sticking with Colton Herta to win today’s race.

The St. Pete race is traditionally a two stop race. The strategy involves when to get the alternate tires out of the way. The majority of the race will be run on the primary.

There will be at least two caution periods, and I hope Indycar doesn’t wait to go yellow just so people vcan pit. Let the breaks of the game happen naturally.

Fast Six Facts

The average Indycar experience of the Fast Six drivers is 3.5 years, counting 2023. Herta is the “old man” of the group, entering his fifth season.

Despitw their experience, the group has 19 poles between them.Only Kyle Kirkwood and Marcus Ericsson have not won a pole.

Although Kirkwood was the first oen eliminated due to a crash in the final round, he starts fifth ahead of Scott Mclaughlin, who had his times erased when he spun about halfway through the session. Since neither driver ioficially posted a time in the Fast Six, the round 2 times determined their order. Kirkwood was second and McLauglin sixth in the round of 12.

I’ll be back after morning warmup with the starting lineup and starting tire choices.

It is going to be a great start to the season.,

Herta Leads Practice 2; Qualifying Groups Set

Colton Herta led the final practice before qualifying for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Herta’s time of 1:00.0779 was 0.0.0742 seconds ahead of defending pole and race winner Scott McLaughlin. Rinus VeeKay was third and Kyle Kirkwood fourth.

The top 14:

Qualifying Groups

Group 1 Group 2

McLaughlin Herta

Kirkwood VeeKay

Ericsson Palou

Rosenqvist Grosjean

O’Ward Rossi

Harvey Malukas

Lundgaard Dixon

Castroneves Newgarden

Pagenaud Daly

Armstrong Power

Canapino Ilott

Ferrucci Rahal

Robb Pedersen



The light blue nimbers on the Arrow McLaren cars look great when the cars are standing still, but they are hard to see at speed in the bright sunlight.

Mark MIles said attendance for the race weekend is approaching an other record attendance.

Qualifying begins at 2:15 pm Eastern on Peacock

Saturday at St. Pete

Today’s schedule:

7:55AM – 8:40AM       MX-5 Cup            Race 1
9:00AM – 9:45AMINDY NXT   Practice 2
10:00AM – 11:00AMNTT INDYCAR SERIES   Practice 2
11:15AM – 12:00PMUSF Pro 2000Race 1
12:15PM – 1:15PM SRO GT AmericaRace 2
1:35PM – 1:55PMINDY NXTQualifying
1:40PM – 2:10PM      USF2000Autograph Session – Outside Mahaffey Theater
2:15PM – 3:30PMNTT INDYCAR SERIESQualifying / Firestone Fast 6
3:45PM – 4:15PM      INDY NXTAutograph Session – Outside Mahaffey Theater
3:45PM – 4:30PM      USF2000Race 1
4:45PM – 5:30PM MX-5 CupRace 2

If yesterday’s practice is anynindication, it is going to be a very copmpetitve season. While Sc ott Dixon led the session at the end, Kyle Kirkwood was the star of the afternoon, leading for mosdt of the first practice. Kirkwood ended up fourth on the speed chart behind Dioxn, Colton Herta, and Alex Palou. Rinus VeeKay was the fastest Chevrolet in sixth place.

Kyle Kirkwood said about his run, “It’s definitely really nice to roll into the weekend with some with some peace, right? I mean, as everyone knows, the cars so close and if you’re behind by a couple of 10ths you’re really fighting to get that all weekend. Now it’s a good feeling, especially since Colton is up there too. And I think some of the other guys that ended up ahead of us Dixon and Palou . I think that they went to new tires at tthe end.”

The Friday crowd at St. Pete seems to get larger every year. Yesterday was one of the largest Fridays I’ve seen here.

I spoke qwith Jack Harvey this morning. he told me turn3 is very slippery and braking in turn 4 is tricky. Qualifying could be interesting this afternoon.

New Qualifying Procedures

For rounds 1 and 2, the first red flag stops the clock. Subsequent red flags do not. The session clock does not begin until the first car crosses the qualifying line between turns 13 and 14. This change should allow for at least one extra qualifying lap.

For the Firestone Fast Six, the cars are guarabteed the full six minutes.


Top to bottom: Felix Rosenqvist, Jack Harvey, Scott Dixon, Marcxus Ericsson

Dixon’s Late Lap Fastest in Friday Practice

In the end, the kids had to let the veterans through. Kyle Kirkwood led most of the last half of practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. In the last five minutes,first Alex palou then Scott Dixon beat his time. Colton Herta slipped into secpnd just before the checkered flag.

Dixon’s time of 1:01.6146 beat Herta by0.0329 swconds. The top five had a separation of 0.084 seconds.


Three red flags interrupted the session. Several cars had issues in turn 3. The Rahal letterman Lanigan Racing cars of Christian Lundgaard and Graham Rahal suffered brake issues.

I will have more about the day later this evening.

St. Pete Preview

Today’s schedule:

7:50AM – 8:20AM Mazda MX-5 Cup Practice 1
8:35AM – 9:20AM SRO GT America Practice 1
9:35AM – 10:10AM USF Pro 2000 Practice
10:25AM – 11:00AM USF2000 Practice
11:15AM – 11:45AM Mazda MX-5 Cup Practice 2
12:00PM – 12:25PM SRO GT America Practice 2
12:30PM – 12:45PM SRO GT America Qualifying 1
12:30PM – 1:30PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Autograph Session
1:00PM – 1:30PM USF Pro 2000 Qualifying
1:55PM – 2:40PM INDY NXT Practice 1
3:00PM – 4:15PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 1 Peacock
4:30PM – 5:00PM USF2000 Qualifying
5:15PM – 5:35PM Mazda MX-5 Cup Qualifying
5:55PM – 6:35PM SRO GT America Race 1

Indycar returns after what seemed like an unusually long offseason. We need to discuss its length at some point, but today we will just be happy that the series is. The Firestone Grand prix of St. Petersburg begins with a 3 pm eastern practice session. I find it hard to believe that tSunday will be the 20th runnong of this street race, which I have seen grow tremendously since my first visit in 2013.

Today’s 75 minute peractice might see more track action. Each yeam has an additional sert of alternate tires and an additional set of primaries, which must be returned after the practice today. Indycar hopes the additional rubber will allow teams to run more laps rather than sit and save their alternate tires for the race. The alternate tire may be used in both practice sessions instead of toaday only as in the past.

This weekend will be the saecond race for the quayule tires, markd the debut of Shell biofuels and lubricants in the series. I don’t expect a driop off in performance. The green brandedquayale tires will be in use at all street courses ub 2023.

WHile the openeing race won’t tell how a team will perform over the entire season, we may get some hints. The big questions- has Andretti Autosport improved? Is Arrow McLaren ready to consistently run up front? Will we see a sophomore surge from David Malukas and Kyle Kirkwood? Today may give a ckue, but a bigger hunt will come in tomorrow’s qualifying.

St. Petersburg is a rac that Team Penske has dominated. The team has won 11 of the races since 2004, Will Pow2eer alone has nine poles, and just missed in 2018 and 2022. The track has produced a series of back to back winners- Helio Castroneves in 2006 and 2007; Juan Pablo Montoya in 2015 and 2016; Sebastien Bourdais in 2017 and 2018; and Josef newgarden in 2019 and 2020, If nthis trend holds, Scott McLaughlin will win again Sunday.

I think we will have a different winner from a deifferent team this year. I look for Colton Herta to come out strong and win the race.

Follow along all weekend for coverage of all on track sessions and some interviews I’m looking to secure.