What to watch for: IndyCar at St. Petersburg

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ST. PETERSBURG – After a seven-month offseason since its last race at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday night, August 30, 2014, the Verizon IndyCar Series finally returns in high gear with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (3 p.m. ET, check local listings) this afternoon.

Defending series champion Will Power is on the pole (Verizon P1 Award) after a record-setting lap, and will lead his three other Team Penske teammates to the green flag.

Here’s what to look for as the curtain comes up on the 2015 season.


New manufacturer aero kits are the major storyline heading into the race, as the 24 cars and drivers entered will race against themselves for the first time. Testing, practice and qualifying are all nice preambles, but today makes the main course.


Get your pen and paper ready, because there will be a test on this later… but here’s what’s new on the driver/team/engineer front, year-on-year, heading into this race:

  • New teams: James Hinchcliffe (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports), Luca Filippi (CFH Racing), Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske), Jack Hawksworth (A.J. Foyt Enterprises)
  • New numbers: Will Power (1), James Hinchcliffe (5), Luca Filippi (20), Simon Pagenaud (22), Carlos Munoz (26), Marco Andretti (27), Jack Hawksworth (41)
  • New/returning drivers: Stefano Coletti (4), James Jakes (7), Sage Karam (8), Francesco Dracone (19), Simona de Silvestro (25), Gabby Chaves (98)
  • Drivers with new engineers: Scott Dixon (Chris Simmons), Tony Kanaan (Todd Malloy), Marco Andretti (Nathan O’Rourke), Jack Hawksworth (Raul Prados), Graham Rahal (Eddie Jones)


Thus far there has only been one incident of note, contact between Josef Newgarden and Simona de Silvestro in the warmup that meant the drivers required a new front wing and rear wing assembly, respectively.

We figure if there’s contact, there’s going to be debris winglets from all over the cars making an appearance on track. However, polesitter Will Power said Saturday that you can still “rub” in these cars, without too much issue.


Firestone has maintained a similar tire compound for 2015, for the opening races, as both Chevrolet and Honda teams dial in the aero kits and their updated engines. However, tire degradation is expected to be a storyline, likely on the right rear, throughout the day.


One of the hallmarks of any IndyCar road or street races is, as Will Ferrell’s George W. Bush would say, “strategery.” It’s in part what aided Mike Conway to two wins a year ago at Long Beach and Toronto race two in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet.

If or when yellows come, the question becomes who will gamble and try to gain positions? Team Penske has dominated the weekend on paper, but the beauty of IndyCar is its unpredictability.

Vicki Golden and 805 Beer tell a unique story from an Inverted Perspective


Vicki Golden has earned a career worthy of a thousand stories and 805 Beer tells at least one of them, as “Inverted Perspective” premiered March 30 on the company’s website and YouTube channel.

Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”. 

At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.

Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California. 

Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.

“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”

805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”

Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life. 

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The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general. 

“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said.  “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”

Vicki Golden is not “fast for a girl”; she’s just fast. – 805 Beer

While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself. 

“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”

Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.

Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg. 

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Golden 805 Beer
Vicki Golden has ridden a variety of disciplines in SuperMotocross, which gives her a unique perspective. – 805 Beer

“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle. 

“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”

The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective. 

“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.

“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”