Welcome to More Front Wing’s first live blog of 2014 from the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg! MFW Co-editor Steph Wallcraft is at the track tapping out updates all weekend long. Updates are posted with the most recent at the top, so if this is your first visit to the live blog please go to the last page and work your way forward. For Verizon IndyCar Series time sheets and race info, visit the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Event Summary.
12:16 AM Monday – And we’re done! Sorry to drop a link-and-run on you to finish off the live blog, but we’ve summarized the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg quite thoroughly with these stories, so they should do the job nicely to tie a bow on the event:
With that, we’re ready to call it a wrap. Paul will be on site for us at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, and in the meantime we’ll have our weekly podcasts and will hear from our Mazda Road to Indy driver bloggers in addition to all the usual IndyCar and Mazda Road to Indy news and views you can find at More Front Wing. Thanks for your ongoing support — we appreciate it enormously!
2:29 PM – Zach Veach handily scored his maiden victory in Indy Lights this afternoon with Gabby Chaves and Jack Harvey joining him on the podium. The only major incident in the race came on lap 1 when Scott Anderson of Fan Force United tagged the wall hard in turn 3. Alex Baron also lost his right front wing in a minor incident about two thirds of the way through the race. A full recap will be posted with the Mazda Road to Indy roundups later today. Side note: It was nice of Marco Andretti to stop by victory circle and congratulate Zach and his family on behalf of the IndyCar tier of Andretti Autosport.
Speaking of podiums, intrigue in USF2000: Victor Franzoni has been disqualified and removed from this morning’s second-place finish after the car failed technical inspection. The series rule listed as being violated is 14.23.3: The engine must be installed as delivered and may not be modified. The podium for this morning is now listed as RC Enerson winning with Jake Eidson moved up to second and Florian Latorre moved up to third. The full results are available at USF2000.com.
The Miles and Mead media availability this morning went just about as expected: IndyCar is happy, Verizon is happy, everybody is happy. One memorable note from Mead was that Verizon didn’t view an IndyCar title sponsorship as a way to put itself against Sprint in the motorsport sphere — the decision was made independently of that. Mead also expressed that IndyCar has thus far been very amenable to the suggestions Verizon has presented for making improvements. They ran the first commercial here in the media center, and I can’t speak for everyone but I found it goosebump-inducing. All signs point to this being a very fruitful partnership.
The Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks are wowing the crowd right now, and the IndyCars will begin to grid up immediately afterward. The wait is finally over, folks — it’s time to get the Verizon IndyCar Series season started!
11:58 AM– It’s been a busy morning! Just a quick catch-up while we wait for Mark Miles and Verizon CEO Dan Mead to join us in the media room for a press conference.
In USF2000 this morning, RC Enerson ran away from Victor Franzoni and Jake Eidson to win race 2. Take note of those names — it seems we’ll be hearing them a lot this year. In Pro Mazda, Spencer Pigot swept the weekend after taking race 2. He was followed on today’s podium by Kyle Kaiser and Pipo Derani. A full race report for both series will follow later today.
Also this morning, James Hinchcliffe joined the Victory Circle monument this morning. A photo has been posted on our Instagram and Twitter accounts.
And in Indy 500 news, Ed Carpenter and JR Hildebrand joined us in the media center to tell us that Preferred Freezer Services will sponsor the #21 ECR entry for JR this year. It was revealed that Ed reached out to JR in June of last year after he parted ways with Panther Racing. Ed said he could relate to JR’s situation and the instability he was going through. They both expressed a hope that the program could expand into more races if the 500 partnership is successful.
Mark Miles and Dan Mead have joined us in the media center. A summary will follow, or keep up live by following us on Twitter at @MoreFrontWing.