Two quick story lines to follow up on after this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg season opener for the Verizon IndyCar Series were the respective runs from A.J. Foyt Enterprises and Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.
Both banked lower end top-10 finishes after rallying from issues earlier in the race. Takuma Sato completed a comeback drive from 21st to sixth in the No. 14 ABC Supply Co. Honda after starting 10th.
Sato managed to avoid losing a full lap despite getting a cut tire on the first lap. He was back up to 14th by Lap 56 and then nearly survived the Turn 4 parking lot but still needed a new nose and tires.
A successful rally brought him to sixth; teammate Jack Hawksworth had pace all weekend but ended 11th in the No. 41 ABC Supply Co. Honda after a roller coaster day with seven pit stops.
“We had a difficult time in qualifying but the boys and the engineers did a fantastic job to bring the car back and we had a very strong race pace. The ABC Supply team did a great job in the pits and I’m happy we were able to come back twice,” Sato said.
Meanwhile, Ganassi’s trio of Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball finished seventh, ninth and 10th after fighting overheating issues, and with Kimball surviving a brake rotor failure on the final lap and still ending up in one piece.
Per the Indianapolis Star‘s Curt Cavin, CGR managing director Mike Hull told him that the sidepod inlets took in too much trash.
Max Chilton, the fourth member of Ganassi’s quartet, ended 17th in his IndyCar debut.