The first race of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar season is in the books, and a familiar face stood in victory lane in St Petersburg on Sunday. Will Power cruised in the second half of the race, but drew some criticism for his botched restart after the first caution flag of the race. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves joined Power on the podium. Scott Dixon and Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top five. The race itself was entertaining throughout, and the TV and Radio coverage was a step up from last season. Dating back to last season, it was the fourth win in the last six races for Power.
The most talked about part of Sunday’s race is the restart, where blame was squarely placed on Power. Because of the accordion affect, Marco Andretti and rookie Jack Hawksworth had their days end early. It was unfortunate for Marco because he appeared to have injured his hand/wrist, and also had a noticeable limp when he exited his Andretti Autosport machine. It was a tough break for the rookie too, because Jack was having a great race, and had been fast all weekend.
It was a so-so day for front row starters Takuma Sato and Tony Kanaan, who finished sixth and seventh. Josef Newgarden had the most impressive run of the day, finishing in ninth place after starting 22nd. It was a disappointing day for Juan Montoya in his return to the open wheel series. It was also a long weekend for the defending race winner, James Hinchcliffe. The Mayor fought electrical problems during the race, and finished 19th, which is where he started the race because of his spin during qualifying.
Mike Conway finished in 16th position for Ed Carpenter’s team, but he probably could/should have got them on the podium. He was running in the third position when the caution flag came out, and due to a miscommunication, he did not pit when everyone else did. It was a tough pill to swallow, but it’s a good sign for the team going forward. ECR has a very good chance to win each weekend with Conway in the cockpit on the twisties, and Carpenter in the seat on the ovals. They’ll be fine.
The next race on the schedule is the Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13. The race will be televised on NBC Sports Network at 4 PM ET. Power currently holds a 13 point lead over Hunter-Reay in the championship standings. You can watch highlights from the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg in the video below, courtesy of IndyCar.