Josef Newgarden won the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding

Starting from pole Car 2 Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet won the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding for his 30th NTT INDYCAR SERIES win. This is his 1st win & 1st Top 3 of 2024. 2nd Place Car 5 Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, started from 3rd place posted his 1st Top 3 of 2024. 3rd Place Car 3 Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, started from 9th place posted his 1st Top 3 of 2024.

4th Place Car 12 Will Power, Chevrolet, 1started from 8th place followed by 5th place Car 26 Colton Herta, Honda, started from 4th place. 6th Place Car 10 Alex Palou, Honda, started from 13th place followed by 7th place Car 60 Felix Rosenqvist, Honda, started from 2nd place. 8th Place Car 7 Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, started from 15th place followed by 9th place Car 9 Scott Dixon, Honda, started from 11th place. Lastly in the Top 10 was Car 21 Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, in 10th place, started from 7th place.

The race had 3 Cautions for 9 laps: 1st Caution on lap 27 for Contact – Car 11 – Turn 10. 2nd Caution on lap 35 for Car 41 – Off course – Turn 1. 3rd Caution on lap 69 for Contact – Car 8 – Turn 10.

The race had 4 Lead changes among 3 drivers. Lap Leaders: Newgarden, Josef 1 – 28, Lundgaard, Christian 29 – 35, Newgarden, Josef 36 – 65, Herta, Colton 66, Newgarden, Josef 67 – 100

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Point Standings: Newgarden 54, O’Ward 40, McLaughlin 35, Power 32, Herta 31, Palou 28, Rosenqvist 26, Rossi 24, Dixon 22, VeeKay 20, Ferrucci 19, Kirkwood 18, Ilott 17, Simpson 16, Fittipaldi 15, Rahal 14, Blomqvist 13, Canapino 12, Lundgaard 11, Harvey 11, Rasmussen 9, Braun 8, Lundqvist 7, Grosjean 6, Ericsson 5, Armstrong 5, Robb 5.


Newgarden Dominates To Win Season Opener at St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Sunday, March 10, 2024) – As season openers go, this couldn’t have gone much more smoothly for Josef Newgarden.

Two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Newgarden won the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding on Sunday, driving the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet to a 7.9121-second victory over the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet of runner-up Pato O’Ward.

On a sun-splashed afternoon and in front of a capacity crowd that included Grammy Award-winning Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Jon Bon Jovi and rock icon and reality television star Bret Michaels, Newgarden led 92 of 100 laps after capturing the NTT P1 Award on Saturday, earning his 30th career INDYCAR SERIES victory. That broke a tie with Team Penske legend Rick Mears for 13th on the all-time win list. Nashville native Newgarden also turned the quickest lap of the race.

“I had a lot of fun today,” Newgarden said. “I think it’s so deserving for the work they (Team Penske) put in. We’ve worked really hard to close the gap. We didn’t have the speed we needed on road and street courses last year, at least on a consistency basis, and today we brought that speed. We had the execution, as always.”

Team Penske won five races last year but just one outside of an oval, Scott McLaughlin’s victory on the natural road course at Barber Motorsports Park.

The victory Sunday was the pinnacle of an outstanding opening weekend for Team Penske on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary street circuit. McLaughlin finished third in the No. 3 DEX Imaging Chevrolet, while two-time series champion Will Power placed fourth in the No. 12 Verizon Business Team Penske Chevrolet to give the legendary team three of the top four finishing spots.

Colton Herta rounded out the top five in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda fielded by Andretti Global. Two-time and reigning series champion Alex Palou climbed from 13th at the start to finish sixth in the No. 10 DHL Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

“I think it’s a very solid foundation to what is going to be a very tight, very competitive rest of the year,” O’Ward said. “I think the Penskes were just too strong for us today.”

Newgarden led from the drop of the green flag and started to ease away from the rest of the 27-car field. His gap evaporated on Lap 27 when Marcus Armstrong locked under braking in Turn 10, sending his No. 11 Ridgeline Lubricants Chip Ganassi Racing Honda into the Turn 10 wall and triggering the first of three caution periods in the race.

Christian Lundgaard took the lead during the caution period when he didn’t pit due to an early stop to replace a flat tire on his No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Lundgaard kept the top spot, with Newgarden second, from the restart on Lap 29 until Lundgaard pitted at the end of Lap 36 under the second caution.

Newgarden faced little challenge from closest pursuers O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM of Meyer Shank Racing and McLaughlin on the restart on Lap 38. He stayed out front, slowly building his lead, until making his final stop at the end of Lap 65 and handing the lead to Herta.

Herta was out front for only one lap before pitting, cycling Newgarden back to the lead for good on Lap 67.

The field got one more chance to jump Newgarden on a restart when Linus Lundqvist backed into the tire barrier in Turn 10 on Lap 69 after a nudge from Romain Grosjean in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Chevrolet. Grosjean received a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact.

But as he did in the two prior restarts, Newgarden rocketed away from O’Ward and Herta when the green flag flew on Lap 72. The deck shuffled a bit over the final 29 laps, as McLaughlin, Power and Palou were particularly fast in gaining positions in the running order.

Just like the rest of the race, Newgarden was in his own world of speed in the final run to the finish and cruised to victory.

“I feel very relaxed right now,” Newgarden said. “I was really excited initially, and then it kind of calmed down those last 10 laps. We can move on from here and at least enjoy this first victory.”

Kyffin Simpson was the best finisher among the five series rookies in the field, placing 14th in the No. 4 Journie Rewards Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

The next event is The $1 Million Challenge, a special, non-points race at 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday, March 24 at The Thermal Club near Palm Springs, California (NBC, Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network)

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding Race Results

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Results Sunday of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg NTT INDYCAR SERIES event on the 1.8-mile Streets of St. Petersburg, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, car, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

  1. (1) Car 2 Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 100, Running
  2. (3) Car 5 Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 100, Running
  3. (9) Car 3 Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 100, Running
  4. (8) Car 12 Will Power, Chevrolet, 100, Running
  5. (4) Car 26 Colton Herta, Honda, 100, Running
  6. (13) Car 10 Alex Palou, Honda, 100, Running
  7. (2) Car 60 Felix Rosenqvist, Honda, 100, Running
  8. (15) Car 7 Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 100, Running
  9. (11) Car 9 Scott Dixon, Honda, 100, Running
  10. (7) Car 21 Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 100, Running
  11. (14) Car 14 Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 100, Running
  12. (18) Car 27 Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 100, Running
  13. (16) Car 6 Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 100, Running
  14. (23) Car 4 Kyffin Simpson, Honda, 100, Running
  15. (26) Car 30 Pietro Fittipaldi, Honda, 100, Running
  16. (22) Car 15 Graham Rahal, Honda, 100, Running
  17. (17) Car 66 Tom Blomqvist, Honda, 100, Running
  18. (20) Car 78 Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 100, Running
  19. (27) Car 18 Jack Harvey, Honda, 100, Running
  20. (12) Car 45 Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 100, Running
  21. (21) Car 20 Christian Rasmussen, Chevrolet, 99, Running
  22. (25) Car 51 Colin Braun, Honda, 99, Running
  23. (19) Car 77 Linus Lundqvist, Honda, 97, Running
  24. (5) Car 77 Romain Grosjean, Chevrolet, 82, Mechanical
  25. (6) Car 28 Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 52, Mechanical
  26. (24) Car 41 Sting Ray Robb, Chevrolet, 33, Off course
  27. (10) Car 11Marcus Armstrong, Honda, 25, Contact

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 96.867 mph
Time of Race: 1:51:29.5954
Margin of victory: 7.9121 seconds
Cautions: 3 for 9 laps
Lead changes: 4 among 3 drivers

Next Event: Sunday, March 24 The Thermal Club $1 Million Challenge* NBC, Peacock

Photos & Graphics Courtesy of INDYCAR

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