GP of Indy Update: After big crash at start, Hawksworth soaring in front

1 Comment

Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Jack Hawksworth has taken control of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis after its inaugural running on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course began with a violent crash at the standing start.

Hawksworth started on the front row alongside pole sitter Sebastian Saavedra, but when the lights went out to begin the race, Saavedra stalled and was hit from behind by Carlos Munoz and then Mikhail Aleshin.

Mike Conway sustained some damage in the incident but has since returned to action, albeit well off the pace. Juan Pablo Montoya also stalled on the start but avoided the crash and has put himself into the Top 10.

After an extended clean-up period to corral debris, Ryan Hunter-Reay led the field to the green flag at Lap 8 and almost immediately, a free-for-all ensued up and down the 2.4-mile road course as cars went two and even three-wide for position off the restart.

One lap later, Hawksworth went to the inside of Hunter-Reay at the right-hand Turn 1 and took the lead away from the former series champion.

A few turns later, Simon Pagenaud peeled second off of Hunter-Reay, and that was the order of the Top 3 for the rest of the stint as Hawksworth began what has been an impressive drive so far.

Hawksworth pitted from the lead on Lap 29, but got it back when Dale Coyne Racing teammates Justin Wilson and Carlos Huertas pitted together from first and second on Lap 32 to end the pit cycle under green.

At the halfway point, Hawksworth had opened up a lead on Pagenaud of almost four seconds, while Hunter-Reay again settled in third. On Lap 42, a battle for fourth between Will Power and Scott Dixon ended with Dixon going into the runoff area, triggering a full-course caution.

IndyCar’s season finale at St. Pete approved to have 20,000 fans

IndyCar St. Pete fans
Chris Jones/IndyCar
Leave a comment

The NTT IndyCar Series’ season finale will be permitted up to 20,000 fans, making the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg possibly the circuit’s most well-attended race of 2020. The race originally was scheduled as the season opener before being moved to Oct. 25 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has enjoyed limited crowds at Road America, Iowa Speedway, Gateway, Mid-Ohio and this weekend’s doubleheader races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which could have up to 10,000 fans in attendance. That had been the largest maximum grandstand crowd for an IndyCar race this season.

At a St. Petersburg city council meeting Thursday, Mayor Rick Kriseman approved plans by race organizers Green Savoree Racing Promotions to hold the Oct. 23-25 weekend for the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Pete with 20,000 fans who would follow health and safety protocols that include mandatory temperature checks and masks.

 “My thanks to Green Savoree Racing Promotions and IndyCar for their flexibility and resilience during this challenging time,” Kriseman said in a release. “I know that everyone is excited to get back on the track in St. Pete. I can’t wait for Oct. 23rd. I know everyone will embrace this race the St. Pete way, adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Let’s have some great racing in the Sunshine City.”

Paddock and the pit lane will remain closed to spectators, and social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed on site.

“Our entire team greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of our ticket holders as we worked through this process with Mayor Kriseman, City Council and local health officials,” Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Promotions. “It’s important for everyone who attends to read and follow all the COVID-19 protocols to contribute to a fun, safe and successful event for us all.”

“The ongoing guidance and support of Mayor Kriseman, City Council, and the City of St. Petersburg’s event team have been phenomenal,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of Green Savoree Promotions. “We also would not be in this position to move this spring tradition to fall without Firestone’s unwavering commitment and dedication. It’s going to be a terrific weekend again in downtown St. Pete in three weeks featuring world-class racing from INDYCAR.”