The first race of the IZOD IndyCar Series season is finally in the books. Below, the More Front Wing crew present our first impressions of the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.
Why is everyone staring at me?
…Oh, that. Well, I’m not allowed to get too excited, I don’t think — I’m supposed to have “professional objectivity” or something. So, I think I’ll summarize my thoughts by just reprinting the tweet I posted right after James Hinchcliffe’s post-race interview:
“In tears, @Hinchtown dedicates his first career #IndyCar win to Dan Wheldon. I see so much of Greg in him. Great representative for Canada.”
That about sums it up, really. Oh, actually, this one fills the sentiment out a little bit more:
“Hey, @Hinchtown — you Timmie’s the HELL outta those donuts, my friend. What a race. What a fight. What a win.
Seriously, though — Canuck pride aside, this race was completely intriguing from top to bottom, and there were so many more stories than we have room to discuss here. Cannot wait to dissect it all over the coming days. Hold on to your hats, kids — looks like this season will be another wild (and awesome) ride!
Hinch wins? Why not? Nothing else really went according to the script this weekend, did it? In a weekend that saw qualifying completely rearranged (well, except for Power being on pole), Dario Franchitti uncharacteristically crash on cold tires, and Honda experiencing a completely miserable three days, it’s only fitting that James Hinchcliffe would score his first victory in the IZOD IndyCar Series. I don’t know that Hinch would have had enough to cover Will Power if Will hadn’t had trouble in the middle portion of the race, but in the end it doesn’t matter. Hinch was there at the finish and Power wasn’t. Congrats, Mr. Mayor!
Obviously, James’s victory is the headline, but I was very impressed by Marco scoring a podium finish and Dixon coming from 20th to 5th. Good to see KV Racing bounce back after a couple of bad years, with both cars capable of finishing on the podium. This time last week, who would have guessed Viso, Sato, Wilson, and Tags would have finished in the top 10? A final thought: someone needs to take a closer look at what caused all of the electrical/clutch problems we saw today.
It’s hard not be euphoric over the first race of the season, and it’s difficult to imagine it going much better for the Series, one of its key team sponsors, and one of the stars they want at the forefront. Questions about cautions and some of the electrical issues can wait for another day; this is basically a time for celebration. From TV coverage to the battle for the win, this one was Grade-A all the way.
Overall, it was a typical narrow street race with a side of carnage and some excitement at the end courtesy of Marco Andretti’s late charge and James Hinchcliffe’s first win. But it’s good to get the season underway!