ST. PETERSBURG – If testing was any indication of things to come in terms of aero kit performance, Chevrolet teams were expected to hold the upper hand once the Verizon IndyCar Series actual race season began.
Indeed they did, by securing five of the top six spots in Saturday’s Firestone Fast Six qualifying session, and then sweeping the top six positions in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The Team Penske quartet did most of the damage, with race winner Juan Pablo Montoya leading the team’s 1-2-4-5 finish in its first race as a four-car IndyCar squad.
But additional great runs from Tony Kanaan and Sebastien Bourdais to third and sixth, respectively, provided further support.
The collective team effort – and with Luca Filippi ninth for CFH Racing to make for four different Chevrolet teams in the top-10 – was praised by Chevrolet’s Jim Campbell post-race.
“Juan Pablo’s great drive and his crew’s consistently quick pit stops were a powerful combination today on the Streets of St. Pete. And his win was also an exciting way to debut the new Chevrolet Aero Kit,” said Campbell, who is Chevrolet U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports.
“The Chevrolet aero kit development was a team effort, so it was exciting to see drivers that represented three different Chevy teams finish in the top six finishing positions.”
While the results would paint a picture of domination, both Montoya and Will Power took the opportunity during the weekend to still note the tightness of the field.
“What was surprising is how tight it was in qualifying today between Chevy and Honda,” Power said after qualifying on Saturday. “When you think about it, different engine, different body kit, but very similar lap times.
“I was kind of worried that the competitiveness of this series wouldn’t be such this year. But it is. It’s right there as it was.”
Honda will no doubt be seeking better results as the championship heads to NOLA Motorsports Park in two weeks, while Chevrolet will look to continue or extend their level of statistical dominance.