Latest from Wickens and Other News

The latest Robert Wickens video, posted just before 2 pm today:

 

 

Windom Added to Freedom 100 Field

Chris Windom will drive for Belardi Racing in the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race on May 24 at the Indiana[polis Motor Speedway. Windom entered the race last year, but a practice crash on Thursday prevented him from qualifying or racing.

Windom joins Jarrett Andretti in the race as a one off entry.

Long Beach Postscript

Rossi’s win was the 200th for Andretti Autosport across their various racing series.

Zak Brown of McLaren asked about Pato O’Ward’s availability for next year. That would be great pairing. Apparently McLaren’s performance in this year’s 500 will determine what the team does next year.

Look at the podium from Sunday. These are your main contenders for the series championship. Will Power might join the group, but he will need the same kind of May he had last year to get back in it.

 

Quick Thoughts – Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

A typical St. Pete race- action early then strung out the second half.  That’s not to say there weren’t some interesting things to watch. There was some good racing throughout the pack. It was fun to track the rookies, who did quite well.

Another huge crowd here. I talked to someone who has been to every St. Pete race who said this was the biggest crowd he’d seen.

What a great move by Rosenqvist to pass Power on the restart. He was a thorn in Power’s side all day.

Pit strategy once again determined the winner. Tim Cindric made the right call  by saving the new reds. Early in 2018, he made a couple of good calls on tires as well.

There were fewer cautions than I expected. One more could have changed the results.

Three rookies, Rosenqvist, Colton Herta, and Santino Ferrucci finished in the top 10. Marcus Ericsson ran in the top 10 a while before dropping out with mechanical problems. At COTA, Pato O’Ward joins the rookie crop. The battle for Rookie of the Year could be just as good as the championship fight.

Great drive by Jack Harvey to finish 10th.

Given the engine issues Bourdais and Hunter-Reay had, I hope we’re not seeing the Honda engine of 2017 return.

About a fourth of the cars had non functioning LED panels. I hope this is fixable.

It was great having Robert Wickens at the track. his presence electrified the atmosphere for the paddock and the fans. His absence on the track gives the series one less contender.

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Look for my full race wrap-up on Wildfire Sports tomorrow.

 

Quick Thoughts- The Season’s First Day

Robert Wickens returned to a race track for the first time since his accident. He spoke to the media. He is in good spirits and doing well.  Some excerpts:

“Being back at a race track makes everything a little better.”

“It was strange being on the smart side of the pit wall.”

“I’m getting some stuff back. Trying to utilize every day to get as healthy as I can.”

He called the fan support here at St. Petersburg “Amazing. I thought the fans would be more focused on the race cars.”  “Fan support has been a big motivation piece.”

“100%” he wants to race again. “I want tog et back into racing as I left off. I don’t want to just run at the back of the field.”

Wickens’ appearance was a great emotional lift for him. I think it was just as much as an emotional lift for the media. The press doesn’t usually applaud at the end of a conference.

A pleasant problem-Additional teams at a street course race means a more crowded paddock.

It’s not quite 10:30 and there is already a good sized crowd here.

The top six in Practice 1 were all Hondas. Rookie Felix Rosenqvist led the session with a time of 1:01.8215. Josef Newgarden was the fastest Chevy 0,35 seconds behind. The rookies I spoke with the other day are interested to see how the red tires work in today’s second session.

Dale Coyne announced a third car for James Davison for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500. Davison drove for Belardi in partnership with A. J. Foyt Racing last year. he finished 33rd. Davison becomes the official 33rd entry for this year’s field.

Max Chilton has the best looking car.

 

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Wickens Will Be at St. Pete

In a new Instagram post from Robert Wickens up this afternoon  he says he will be coming to St. Pete this weekend. Here is the post with a list of his schedule.

Latest Wickens Video

Have tissues handy