It felt good to see the IndyCars at speed again, in real competition circumstances, after the way the season ended last year. Starting off in Dan Wheldon’s adopted town of St. Pete carried extra weight with it, but it also applied a nice salve to the still-smarting wound of his loss. Seeing @h3lio Castroneves end his winless streak and celebrate on the fence, patting the Dan Wheldon Way street sign, tied a sweet bow around what was a very interesting day.
The racing was probably more exciting than we can tell – Scott Dixon commented that there was a good bit of passing, but those of us watching at home didn’t see much of that. St. Pete’s narrow, bumpy streets have never allowed a lot of thrilling battles, but the strategies, the new teams/drivers, the new equipment and a ton of unknowns kept it from being a snooze-fest.
There were more failures than normal – to be expected with all the new gear – and there are definitely bugs to work out. In the case of Lotus, literally – ECM software issues caused @KatherineLegge and @SimdeSilvestro to drop out early. (What the heck does Lotus have against the ladies? LOL!) Chevy remained the strength of the engine competition, loading the top of the field with their drivers. Honda still has some work to do, but a pre-race quote from @dariofranchitti indicated that they think they know where to look to close the gap.
As for the DW12 – we like it more every time we see it. It’s different, but an interesting different. Great liveries and motion bring the DW12 to life and we can’t wait to see how it evolves with different aero kits next season.
And the competition – yes, just as we expected, this is going to be an unpredictable and competitive season with different teams and names surfacing from time to time. The unknowns are enticing and we’re as excited as @h3lio was today that the season has finally gotten underway.
Just a week away is the Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber and we’re looking forward to a few things at that event. We’re keeping an eye on rookie @josefnewgarden, who impressed with his weekend performance and should deliver a strong season for Sarah Fisher’s team. We also think things will go better for @rubarrichello, who will be on a smoother, rolling track more like Formula 1 venues and won’t be taking quite so much of a beating in the car.
For now, we sign off happy for a safe, successful St. Pete race and congratulate @h3lio on a terrific drive today.