Pagenaud leads, Power crashes in first practice at St. Petersburg

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Verizon IndyCar Series is underway for the 2016 season with the first 75-minute practice in the books for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

There wasn’t a ton of running during the session, but Simon Pagenaud led overall with a best time of 1:01.7246 in the No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet.

“It’s first practice of the year. The car feels nice right now but a lot of work still to do,” Pagenaud told IndyCar Radio’s Nick Yeoman.

Jack Hawksworth was second and the best Honda in the No. 41 ABC Supply Co. Honda at 1:01.7870.

“The car feels pretty good. The times seem pretty decent. We’re expecting a good weekend,” Hawksworth told IndyCar Radio’s Rob Howden.

Helio Castroneves, Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay completed the top five. Last year’s series champion Scott Dixon was sixth with last year’s St. Petersburg winner Juan Pablo Montoya in eighth.

The biggest story to emerge out of the session, however, was Will Power suffering an accident at Turn 9 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

Power, just five laps into the day, ran wide at the left-hand kink and sustained heavy right side damage – but it was not apparent whether something broke on the car to cause the accident. His car stopped at the runoff at Turn 10 and caused a red flag.

Power did drive by on a scooter in the paddock, so was OK after the contact. Per Team Penske, Power was apparently adjusting brake bias and his hand slipped on the wheel, which was also something NBCSN IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell observed.

See notes from USA Today Sports’ Brant James below as the Verizon Team Penske crew began repairs.

Of note, the four rookies, Alexander Rossi, Spencer Pigot, Conor Daly and Max Chilton clocked in 18th, 19th, 20th and 22nd, with Mikhail Aleshin in 21st. None has had a massive amount of testing time, and Rossi led the quartet.

Temperatures began at 78 degrees Fahrenheit ambient and 87 on track, per Firestone, but rose to 76 and 100 45 minutes into the session.

Times are below:

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Peacock to stream all Supercross and Motocross races in 2023, plus inaugural SuperMotocross Championship

Peacock Supercross Motocross 2023
Feld Entertainment, Inc.
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NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports announced that Peacock and the NBC family of networks will stream all 31 races of the combined Monster Energy Supercross, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and the newly created SuperMotocross World Championship beginning January 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and ending October 14 in the place where Supercross was born: the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The combined series will create a 10-month calendar of events, making it one of the longest professional sports’ seasons in the United States.

The agreement is for multiple years. The season finale will air live on Peacock and the USA Network.

Peacock will present live coverage of all races, qualifying and heats across both series. The 31 total races will mark a record for the combined number of Supercross and Pro Motocross events that NBC Sports will present in a single season.

NBC, USA Network and CNBC will provide coverage of all races, including the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final, through 2023 and beyond. For more information about the Peacock streaming service, click here.

“With our wide array of live and original motorsports offerings, Peacock is a natural home for Supercross and Pro Motocross races,” said Rick Cordella, Chief Commercial Officer, Peacock. “We’re looking forward to providing fans with an easily-accessible destination to find every race all season long, including the exciting finish with the newly formed SuperMotocross World Championship.”

MORE: A conversation about media rights created the new SuperMotocross World Championship Series

The NBC family of networks has been home to Supercross for the past several seasons and this is a continuation of that relationship. The media rights for both series expired at the end of 2022, which allowed Supercross and Motocross to combine their efforts.

In fact, it was that conversation that led to the formation of the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

The SMX series will begin on September 9, 2023 after the conclusion of the Pro Motocross season. Points will accumulate from both series to seed the SMX championship, which creates a record number of unified races.

“The SuperMotocross World Championship adds a new dimension to the annual Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons that will result in crowning the ultimate World Champion,” said Stephen C. Yaros, SVP Global Media and Supercross for Feld Motor Sports. “We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with NBC Sports so our fans can watch all the racing action streaming live on Peacock and the option to also watch select rounds on NBC, USA Network and CNBC.”

Complete 2023 coverage schedules for Supercross, Pro Motocross and the SuperMotocross World Championship on Peacock, NBC, USA Network and CNBC will be announced in the near future.