April 3 in Motorsports History: At St. Pete, a 1-2-3-4 for Andretti Green

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A race with a 1-2 finish by teammates isn’t unusual in IndyCar. In fact, it’s happened 149 times since 1946.

The 1-2-3 finishes by teammates are less common but still happen: 12 times since 1946 the podium has been swept by drivers from the same team. Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden and Will Power did it most recently in IndyCar’s 2017 season finale at Sonoma Raceway.

Andretti Green Racing’s drivers celebrate after recording the first 1-2-3-4 finish in IndyCar history. Photo: Michael Voorhees/IndyCar

But on April 3, 2005, Andretti Green Racing’s drivers did something that hadn’t been done before and has yet to be achieved since.

AGR drivers Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta finished 1-2-3-4 in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Wheldon took the lead of the race on Lap 92 when Ryan Briscoe and Kanaan made contact in Turn 10. He then held off a hard-charging Kanaan for his fifth IndyCar victory and his second of the season. Franchitti and Herta (the pole-sitter) rounded out the top four.

“It’s fantastic for Andretti Green Racing to get a 1-2-3-4. It was difficult as it is anytime you have TK breathing down your neck, so I’ve got to pat myself on the back for that,” Wheldon said. “I was a little concerned about my brakes, but they seemed to hold up, and they need to when you have that green thing (Kanaan’s car) behind you. When you see 7-Eleven in the mirror, you know he’s going to try anything he can. Fortunately, I kept him at bay.”

Wheldon took control of the IndyCar points lead with his win and would capture four more victories that season, including the Indy 500, en route to the 2005 championship.

The race is also notable for being the first street course event in the nine-year history of the Indy Racing Leauge and the first race promoted by Barry Green and Kevin Savoree (who were co-owners of Andretti Green at the time). Green-Savoree Racing Promotions continues to promote the race at St. Pete, and the company also promotes IndyCar races at Toronto, Mid-Ohio, and Portland.

Also on this date:

1977: Mario Andretti won the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the only time an American won the event under Formula One sanction. Andretti would win three more times at Long Beach, including IndyCar’s inaugural race at the street circuit in 1984.

1988: Alain Prost won the season-opening Grand Prix of Brazil, the first of seven victories for the Frenchman in 1988. The race was the last time Formula One opened its season in the month of April.

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Simon Pagenaud’s engineer relives 2019 Indy 500 victory on Twitter

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The Team Penske engineer for last year’s Indianapolis 500 winner is reliving Simon Pagenaud’s day by tweeting about what he was doing each moment a year later.

Starting with an observation that he awoke in his Indianapolis hotel room at 4:30 a.m., Ben Bretzman (@benbretzman) sent nearly two dozen tweets by 11 a.m. ET about how the morning before the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 unfolded.

Bretzman was through the infield tunnel and in Gasoline Alley by 6 a.m. By 7:30 a.m., he was wondering if his driver was awake yet, but he had heard for the first time from Pagenaud 45 minutes later.

‘BACK HOME AGAIN’Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, NBC

FIERCE FRIENDSHIPPagenaud, Rossi recall epic battle of 2019 Indy 500

Among other highlights: The team’s last strategy meeting was at 8:30 a.m.; final check of the weather was at 9:30 a.m. and Bretzman gave the No. 22 Dallara-Chevrolet a once-over at 10:35 a.m. before it was pushed to the grid.

Follow @BenBretzman to watch the day unfold from the pit box and tune into “Back Home Again at 2 p.m. ET on NBC as Pageanud and Alexander Rossi, who are good friends off the track, recap their epic duel with host Mike Tirico.

Simon Pagenaud and engineer Ben Bretzman debrief at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IndyCar photo by Joe Skibinski).