<Insert “Started From the Bottom Now We’re Here>
All jokes aside, after a crash in qualifying yesterday had Sebastien Bourdais starting dead last on the grid, he made his way for an insanely impressive finish and took the very first win of the IndyCar season.
The race itself didn’t look promising or set up for smooth sailing with an incident between Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball on turn 3 on the first lap, causing a caution for the first few laps of the race.
Kimball’s swerve landed him into Carlos Munoz’s car which due to many problems from that collision ended as a DNF. Spencer Pigot also DNF, possibly due to a disc problem he had earlier in the race where a fire started in the left rear.
James Hinchcliffe captured and held onto first for quite some time after that first caution, and was looking set to possibly taking the win at St. Pete. A second caution, with half the field needing to pit, caused Hinch to lose his place, which he never quite recovered from.
Aside from a few scuffles and near-misses (like Tony Kanaan and Mikhail Aleshin’s little “bump”) the race was relatively quiet. Will Power was holding fast to a top-3 lead before direction from the team had him slowing down and he fell behind considerably, finishing 19th (or last for cars still running on the track).
The big thing from Bourdais’ win and the significant number of Hondas in the top 10 of this race (as well as practice and qualifying sessions this weekend), is there looks to be a change in the direction for Honda this season. And it’s quite the positive direction, which will hopefully heat things up a bit this year.
Honda dominated the top-10 positions (7/10), including an unexpected P7 finish for Marco Andretti, which was a nice change from the bottom-half of the grid he continually finished in last year. Ed Jones rounded out the field at P10 with his first official ride with IndyCar as part of Dale Coyne Racing.
I’m not going to get ahead of myself with this idea, but this could potentially be the year for Honda in IndyCar, not only because of the larger number of Hondas in the field this season, but they certainly have improved upon performance.
Yet, St. Pete is only the first of 17 races this season, so there’s still time to wait and see how everything goes.
St. Petersburg final results:
1. Sebastien Bourdais (Honda)
2. Simon Pagenaud (Chevrolet)
3. Scott Dixon (Honda)
4. Ryan Hunter-Reay (Honda)
5. Takuma Sato (Honda)
6. Helio Castroneves (Chevrolet)
7. Marco Andretti (Honda)
8. Josef Newgarden (Chevrolet)
9. James Hinchcliffe (Honda)
10. Ed Jones (Honda)
11. Alexander Rossi (Honda)
12. Tony Kanaan (Honda)
13. JR Hildebrand (Chevrolet)
14. Mikhail Aleshin (Honda)
15. Conor Daly (Chevrolet)
16. Max Chilton (Honda)
17. Graham Rahal (Honda)
18. Charlie Kimball (Honda)
19. Will Power (Chevrolet)
20. Spencer Pigot (Chevrolet) DNF
21. Carlos Munoz (Chevrolet) DNF