Honda jumps out early at the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Honda-powered cars claimed eight of the top-10 spots in Practice 1, including locking out the top three.
Marco Andretti in the No. 27 for Andretti Autosport took the top spot with a 01m03.7559s effort. Tony Kanaan in the No. 10 for Chip Ganassi Racing, lapped a 01m03.8450s for P2. Scott Dixon, sporting new colors for the first time in 15 years after Target withdrew sponsorship, clocked in a 01m03.8798s for P3.
The two lone Chevrolets were that of defending champion Simon Pagenaud in P5 with a 01m04.2131s. Team-mate Helio Castroneves was P7 with a 01m03.8798s.
The strong showing for Honda-powered teams is promising and noteworthy, considering Chevrolet dominance in St. Petersburg.
While Honda had a good showing in the 45-minute practice session, Chevrolet cars, notably Team Penske had a rough go of things.
Defending Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg winner, Will Power, lost the rear of his No. 12 going into T10 with 30 minutes to go, causing a single car incident and a red flag. The right rear bodywork was damaged, but Power was able to get it back to the pits, replaced, and rejoin minutes after the session went green. Power would eventually finish P11.
New Team Penske team-mate Josef Newgarden had a similar moment in T10, but was able to ease into the escape road and spin his car back on-track without damage.
No official word from the team about the incidents, but car balance is suspected.
Other practice notes, Max Chilton ran the most laps at 21. Rookie Ed Jones had a decent first showing finishing P18. The A. J. Foyt Enterprise tandem of Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz are still having problems with their cars finishing P21 and P19, respectively.