Fifth Gear: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Sunday’s season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding could not have packed more excitement into two hours, hence the need for an additional five-plus minutes. On Lap 72 of this 100-lap race, victory was in the hands of either Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin or Andretti Autosport’s Romain Grosjean, but neither of them went to Victory Lane as their races effectively ended against the tire barrier in Turn 4. In fact, Andretti Autosport got the car back in the race after repairs, and Kirkwood finished 15th. Meyer Shank Racing and AJ Foyt Racing each saw both of its cars taken out of this race by the first-lap incident. McLaughlin was trying to get his tire temperatures up, but they weren’t ready for the aggression, and the contact between the cars sent both to the tire barrier. McLaughlin accepted blame for the incident after the race, apologizing in person to Grosjean. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, and O’Ward said this was a race that painfully got away. McLaughlin (37 laps), Grosjean (31) and O’Ward (23) combined to lead 91 of the race’s 100 laps, but their combined average finish was 11.0.

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