• Ryan Hunter-Reay leads a 24-car field as 2019 season begins
  • Five Honda drivers post top-seven times in practice

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 8, 2019) – As he did in 2018, Honda-powered Ryan Hunter-Reay again led the way in opening day practice to officially start the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season in advance of Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. 

Even by NTT IndyCar Series standards, the 24-car field was incredibly close after a pair of Friday practice sessions, with less than three-tenths of a second separating the top 10, and less than eight-tenths of a second between first and 20th positions on the opening-day timesheet.

Marco Andretti ended the day an encouraging third quickest, while Colton Herta led the five rookies in the field and ran fourth on the day.  Alexander Rossi finished sixth overall, with previous St. Petersburg race winner James Hinchcliffe seventh, as Honda drivers claimed five of the top seven positions.

Activities on the temporary street circuit continue tomorrow with final practice and qualifying.  Sunday’s 110-lap season-opening race starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT, with live network television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport Honda) quickest in opening-day practice: “We definitely made some changes between the sessions. At first, I thought the car was a bit of a handful, and it still is, we are right on the edge of tipping it over. But it was a good outing. The car is a handful at the moment; I’d like it to be a little bit more ‘polite’ in a few areas. We will put our heads together as a team and work to get this #28 DHL Honda up front, but it is a good first step.”

 

NTT IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Circuit:             Bayfront Park (1.8-mile temporary street circuit) St. Petersburg, FL

2018 Winner:   Sebastien Bourdais (DCR with Vasser-Sullivan Honda) 86.207 mph average

Weather:         Sunny, warm, 78 degrees F

 

Top-10 Friday Practice Session Results:

 

Ps.

Driver

Team

Manufacturer

Best Time

Notes

 

1.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Honda

1:00.8969

106.409 mph avg.

 

2.

Spencer Pigot

Ed Carpenter Racing

Chevrolet

1:00.9812

 

3.

Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport

Honda

1:01.0351

 

4.

Colton Herta-R

Harding Steinbrenner Racing

Honda

1:01.0776

 

 

5.

Max Chilton

Carlin Racing

Chevrolet

1:01.1171

 

 

6.

Alexander Rossi

Andretti Autosport

Honda

1:01.1388

 

 

7.

James Hinchcliffe

Arrow Schmidt Peterson

Honda

1:01.1453

 

 

8.

Charlie Kimball

Carlin Racing

Chevrolet

1:01.1681

 

 

9.

Josef Newgarden

Team Penske

Chevrolet

1:01.1811

 

 

10.

Will Power

Team Penske

Chevrolet

1:01.1896

 








Other Honda Results

11.

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

1:01.2129

 

 

12.

Takuma Sato

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

1:01.2700

 

 

13.

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

1:01.4284

 

14.

Felix Rosenqvist-R

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

1:01.5020

 

 

18.

Sebastien Bourdais

DCR with Vasser-Sullivan

Honda

1:01.5635

 

 

19.

Marcus Ericsson-R

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Honda

1:01.6238

 

20.

Jack Harvey

Michael Shank Racing

Honda

1:01.6610

 

21.

Santino Ferrucci-R

Dale Coyne Racing

Honda

1:01.6736

 

23.

Zach Veach

Andretti Autosport

Honda

1:02.0331