From the time the first barrier wall is dropped in downtown St.Petersburg,FL the excitement begins to build. Then race week the team haulers arrive and the teams from various series ascend upon the downtown area and the vibe starts to rev up.
Race week starts and kicks off with load in day on Thursday and Friday cars finally get on the street course for the first time since the off-season. This year they debut brand new cars from Honda as well as Chevy.
With the new cars teams were all on a level playing field and some surprises showed up.
when rookie for Schmidt Peterson Racing Robert Wickens secured the pole in the last lap from track favorite Will Power in his Penske Racing machine.
After a strong qualifying effort Wickens showed everyone in the opening laps he was a player for the win and leading the most laps on the day throughout the race.
In the final laps a caution came out and going into turn1 Wickens and Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi had an altercation clearing the way for last year’s race winner and local Sebastian Bourdais to double down and record back to back victories at the race that is mere minutes from where he calls home.
PIRELLLI WORLD CHALLENGE
Rounds 1 & 2
The field was stacked with new teams and drivers . A hometown favorite Alegra Motorsports jumped from running Imsa series last year and looked forward to being a strong contender at the street course in downtown St.Petersburg.
Also Debuting for the first time in the United States was the Callaway Competition C7 Corvette.
Both cars looked strong in the GT catagory but Pfaff Motorsports driver Scott Hargrove was the class of the field winning both rounds on the weekend in the GT catagory.
In GTS the field was full with teams like Blackdog Speedshop ,GMG racing as well as a handful of others looking at their shot to stand atop The podium.
Lawson Aschenbach piloting the number 1 Black Dog Speedshop Chevrolet Camaro completed the sweep on the weekend.
Throughout the weekend this was the most exciting racing with passing and overtakes through out the race weekend a very competitive field of upcoming drivers that will someday be your new age of Indycar drivers
Pato O’ Ward and Colton Herta we’re front runners through the rounds.
On Sunday Santi Urrutia took the win over Shelby Blackstock of team Pelfrey.
Overall was a great kickoff to the 2018 Indycar Racing Season down on the streets of beloved St.Petersburg Florida.