Qualifying for the IndyCar 2014 season kickoff race in St. Petersburg, FL made it seem like the race itself would be all about Takuma Sato and his ABC-sponsored Dallara Honda. Will Power had other ideas, however, and started the 2014 season the same way that he ended 2013: by putting his Penske Chevrolet on top.
After a great start by Sato, it was Will Power‘s pit strategy that put him in a position to win- and he led the re-start from the race’s only two (back-to-back) caution periods. Here’s where everyone was standing when Power crossed the checkered flag …
|Car No.||Driver||Engine||Grid Pos.|
|2||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chevy||15|
|27||James Hinchliffe||Honda||-1 Lap|
|83||Charlie Kimball||Chevy||-2 Laps|
… but it’s worth noting that race officials will be looking closely at Powers’ in-car data logs after the race to see if he excessively slowed on the re-start after the first caution. An “accordion” behind him caught out Marco Andretti and rookie Jack Hawksworth, setting off the St. Petersburg GP’s second caution period before the pace car had even been parked from the first one!
Other notables included a great run by Josef Newgarden at Sarah Fisher racing and an epic run from Simon Pagenaud, who would probably be headed for Formula 1 if we were still in the old, pre-split CART days and IndyCar was still internationally relevant. Sebastian Bourdais, Graham Rahal, and Juan Pablo Montoya were bunched up in 13th, 14th, and 15th, respectively, after what turned out to be a long afternoon of racing for them.