IndyCar News

Record Numbers Both At And Away From St Pete

The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opening Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding was on Sunday not only had record attendance on race day of 140,000 but it also drew in the biggest viewership of any season-opening INDYCAR race for eleven years.

The GPSP averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 1.429 million viewers on NBC and Peacock, making it not only the most-watched INDYCAR season opener in 11 years (St. Pete, 2011, 1.840 million, ABC), but also the most-watched non-Indy 500 INDYCAR race in 11 years.

Sunday’s GPSP was up 53% compared to the 2021 INDYCAR season opener at Barber (932,000 viewers; April 18) and up 15% vs. last year’s St. Pete race (1.246 million; April 25), both on NBC.

Bolstered by streaming on Peacock, the race delivered an Average Minute Audience (AMA) of 23,800 viewers, the largest streaming audience on record for an INDYCAR race, excluding the Indy 500. The AMA also includes streaming on and the NBC Sports app via authentication.

Viewership for the race peaked with a TV-only audience of 1.509 million viewers and averaged a household rating of 0.89. TAD is based on data from Nielsen and Adobe Analytics.

The next race on the schedule is the XPEL 375 at Texas Moor Speedway, the first oval event of the season on March 20, live on NBC and Peacock.

IndyCar News

Ganassi Selected As Honoree At The Amelia

Legendary NTT IndyCar Series team owner Chip Ganassi has been selected as honoree for The Amelia award winning car show which takes place from March 3-6.

As Honoree, a select fleet of Ganassi’s legendary race cars will be featured as part of the show. The collection features champion cars that have special meaning to the 14-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion team owner, including a 2010 Daytona 500 winning Chevrolet Impala, a Dallara IndyCar which won the 2010 Indianapolis 500, and a 2022 Cadillac DPi, which recently competed in the 24 Hours of Daytona. Also in attendance will be one of the four Ford GTs that were part of the Ganassi fleet that raced during the 2016–2019 seasons in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship & the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Chassis 007 earned four victories over the course of the program: in 2017, Rolex 24 at Daytona and Road America; in 2018, Watkins Glen and Lime Rock.

Speaking about the news, Ganassi commented saying:

To be selected as the Honoree at The Amelia this year, it certainly ranks among the highpoints of my career. “I’m truly honored to be respected by my peers in this way and join the likes of so many legends I’ve long admired. I’ve been fortunate enough to make this a career and I still feel that I have as much passion for the sport as I did 40 years ago, qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie.”

IndyCar News

We Really Showed The Progress We Made

Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay in the No.21 SONAX Chevrolet says that the Team’s performance in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding on the streets of St Petersburg shows the progress the team made over the off-season.

VeeKay started the race from fourth place and came home in sixth.

Taking to Twitter following the race he said:

IndyCar News

A Great Start To The Season For Chevrolet

Chevrolet had a great start to the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season on the streets of St Petersburg on Sunday as Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin scored his first career victory in only his 18th series start.

Chevrolet who scored a third-place finish with Will Power in the No.12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet coming home in third place behind Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda,

Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay in the No.21 SONAX Chevrolet came home in sixth place following a strong qualifying for the Dutch driver on Saturday.

Speaking to Paddock Eye following the Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding, a Chevrolet spokeswoman said that the company is delighted with how their season started and that they are happy that they have more parity between them and Honda.

IndyCar News

Juncos Hollinger Racing Show Great Potential In St Pete

Juncos Hollinger Racing and Callum Ilott showed great potential during Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding on the streets of St Petersburg, the opening race of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season.

The team started the race from 19th and ran in the top three for over 25 laps, unfortunately, the team was unable to keep the pace up during the race, with Ilott ending the race in 19th place.

The team will be hoping that they can continue this progress next time out as the NTT IndyCar Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway next month for the first oval race of the year, the XPEL 375 on March 20.

IndyCar News

It Was A Positive Race

AJ Foyt Racing’s Tatiana Calderon in the No.11 ROKiT Chevrolet says it was a positive opening race of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season at the Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding on Sunday.

It was positive to finish my first IndyCar race. It was one of the toughest races of my career physically, but I learned with every lap about the car, how track conditions evolve and how to adapt to the different tyre compounds. I made some mistakes, it’s all part of the learning process, and we made an extra pitstop at the end to get more of a feeling for new tyres in race conditions when the track gripped up. It was all about gaining as much experience as we could this weekend. I’m happy with the progression we made through practice and qualifying, but the race was a completely different challenge, and no test can prepare you for that, you simply must go through it for the first time to understand how brutal it can be. A big thank you to the whole AJ Foyt Racing team for their hard work and support and to ROKiT for believing in me. Now there’s a month’s break until Long Beach so I’ll be working on the areas where this race showed we need to focus on.

Tatiana will be back in action for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach next month.

IndyCar News

Record-Breaking Attendance For The Firestone Grand Prix Of St Petersburg

The 2022 NTT IndyCar Series 2022 season-opening Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding saw a record attendance of 140,000 spectators who watched as Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin scored his first IndyCar career victory.

McLaughlin started the race from pole position in the No.3 DEX Chevrolet and retook the lead late in the race and managed to keep defending series champion Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing at bay to score his first IndyCar victory in only his 18th career start.

Fans were treated to glorious weather in St Petersburg and watched an incredible race throughout the field and watched on as Takuma Sato who celebrated his 200th IndyCar start, coming from the back of the field in 22nd place to finish the race inside tenth place.

AJ Foyt Racing’s rookie drivers Kyle Kirkwood and and Tatiana Calderon did exactly what the team asked of them and came got to the end of the 100 lap race.

IndyCar News

Sato Celebrates His 200th IndyCar Start With A Top-Ten Finish

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato driving the No.51 Nurtec Honda for Dale Coyne Racing with RWR started his 200th NTT IndyCar Series race on Sunday in St Petersburg from 22nd place and carved his way through the field to finish the 100 lap Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding in 10th place.

Speaking following the race, the Japanese driver commented saying:

“A top 10 finish for my first race with Dale Coyne Racing with RWR. The boys did a fantastic job. We had a difficult weekend to start with and qualifying wasn’t ideal. We were starting near the back of the grid and we gradually moved up. We had a fun start and made a couple of places up and had a solid performance in every stint. Normally a lot of things happen in St. Petersburg but it didn’t this year. We had the biggest mover of the race so that was fantastic. It was a great effort from the team. I’m really looking forward to the next race in Texas. This weekend went really well and I’m settling in well with the team.” 

David Malukas started his first IndyCar race from 24th place however, his race ended early and finished the event in 26th place and speaking following the action he said:

“It’s really unfortunate. We ran clean all race weekend up to this point. If we were to crash this weekend I would have preferred that it happen in the first practice but that wasn’t the case. Before that we were trying to make the red tires last during my first stint. It was my first time running on red tires so long, so I learned a lot there. We tried to stretch our pit window but came up a bit short on that first stint. We then went to the black Firestone tires after my first stop. A few laps later, I was going into Turn 3 and I had a bit of a moment, it was only a split second but it took me offline and as soon as that front left hit the marbles that took me straight to the wall. It’s unfortunate. I did not want it to end that way. Our seasons always seem to start with a bang, but then go in the right direction so hopefully this one is no different.”
IndyCar News

Calderon Gains Valuable Race Experience

AJ Foyt Racing’s Tatiana Calderon in the No.11 ROKiT Chevrolet gained valuable race experience as she completed her first NTT IndyCar Series race distance at the Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding on Sunday.

The Colombian started the race from 25th and had a great fight with her team-mate Dalton Kellett and came home in 24th place.

Speaking following the action she said:

“It was the toughest race physically of my career. “Obviously, a hundred laps with only one caution was quite hard but I think we managed to get a feeling for both tire compounds. I did a few mistakes running out of road and a few things but sometimes you have to learn the hard way. But I was happy to cross the line to get a bit more information, a bit more fitness for what’s coming next. And to know where I need to improve as well and where I can maybe help with the balance of the cars, so I’m quite happy with all that information. Hopefully, we can come back to Long Beach and push harder.

Making his IndyCar debut, Kyle Kirkwood was extremely impressive as he too completed his first race distance coming home in 18th place.

“I’m super happy with the outcome of everything. “I think this weekend there’s a lot of new moving parts going on, along with myself, and everyone executed. Yeah, we were on the wrong strategy and we got hosed by a caution but that’s part of racing. We showed this entire weekend that we have pace and we showed pace in the race with the ROKiT Chevrolet. We ran right there with veteran drivers like Newgarden and Pagenaud. I was super happy with that. I was thrilled I kind of ran Newgarden down at one point so I couldn’t ask for anything better than that to be honest for my first ever race. It’s just unfortunate we were on the wrong strategy but we were on the right strategy until the caution came out.”

It was a disappointing race for Dalton Kellett who retired with a mechanical issue and speaking following the action he said:

Not the finish we were looking for. “We had really high hopes and expectations coming in from our best qualifying in INDYCAR so far, so I have to commend the No. 4 K-Line Insulators Chevy team for that performance. That was a great day on Saturday – really happy with how it went. Obviously, we were wanting more in the race but suffered a mechanical issue and will figure out what happened there, diagnose that, and make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s part of the process and learning how to do this better every weekend and that’s all we can ask for. Just got to keep grooving and take the positives from this weekend and go into Texas.”

Team President Larry Foyt said:

It was a tough race day after a really good weekend leading up to today. We were hoping for some better finishes. On the 14 car, the strategy didn’t pay out with the way the long yellow fell due to the wall repair–it definitely hurt the strategy the 14 and the 4 were on. And it’s unfortunate the 4 car had a mechanical problem and couldn’t finish the race. Kyle and Dalton were really happy with their cars and it looks like we have a pretty good street course package. We believe that will continue throughout the year. Both guys did a really good job and drove really hard.

Tatiana did a nice job in her first INDYCAR race, and she made it to the finish. It was definitely the toughest race she’s ever done, so I think she learned a lot and will keep improving from here. We have to look at the positives, we showed good pace in qualifying, now we just need to put the whole weekend together.

IndyCar News

What A Race!

Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Callum Ilott was delighted with how the Team’s first race went as he made his way into the top three and held that position for nearly 30 laps.

Ilott started the race from 19th and finished 19th, although the result did not reflect the performance.

What a race. “It went from really struggling on the reds to boxing a little early and getting it right with the full-course yellow and coming out 12th. A lot of guys in front of me ended up having to pit a bit earlier. I was hanging in P2 and the pace was really, really good. I think I was catching up to Rinus (VeeKay). I think we boxed maybe two laps early and I caught the pack, and I couldn’t make it through. The pace was good, but there was nowhere to go. With about 30 laps to go, my hands started to fall apart, and it was quite difficult to turn. It was an experience. I think we had good pace, especially on the blacks. What a race. We ran in the Top-3 for almost 30 laps, so that was mega.”

Team owner Brad Hollinger commented saying:

“I thought the outcome today was quite good. While we didn’t have the pace towards the end, we thought we would have, we really expected our fuel consumption would be better than the others and it turned out it was not. So, we ended up 19th, which was where we started. Finishing a race is great, since it is the first of our season. We placed in the Top-20 which I am happy with that. Our pit stops were excellent, and the team worked really well together. We had excellent communication and great team spirit. I would say it was an A all the way around and our pace will be better over the next few events.”

Team owner Ricardo Juncos commented saying:

I am very happy to finish our first full time schedule race with our new team and Callum Ilott. I was very impressed with everyone in the team. Everyone on the team from the mechanics, to engineers, driver, and everyone else who makes up Juncos Hollinger Racing did a fantastic job all weekend. We have worked so hard over the winter to get ready to show up the way we wanted to as a full-time team for the first event of the year. We had the speed, running as high as P2 among a field of such high competition. We gambled with our strategy and yellow flags, which didn’t end up in our favor, but the fact that we were able to show the pace to be at the top shows we have a lot of potential to go further this season. We have a long way to go and the fact that we are the only one car team and not having the experience of other teams goes against us, but I am confident that despite these factors we will continue to make gains each step of the way. We feel strong as a group, and I am looking forward to continuing our strong momentum into the rest of our first full season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.