The IndyCar season started on Sunday, March 30th in St. Petersburg, Florida. Compared to many of last season's races, however, this one was a relatively tame yet exciting race. After the green dropped, the yellow didn’t wave until lap 76 when Charlie Kimball went into the tires in turn 2. After going green on lap 82, the race went yellow again right after the restart when Jack Hawksworth spun and collected Marco Andretti after the field bunched up on said restart. Around lap 88, rookie Carlos Huertas received a drive-through penalty for getting full service while the pits were closed. Mike Conway and Sebastien Bourdais also got drive-through penalties for passing the pace car and failing to rejoin the pack under caution, respectively. Will Power went on to win the race, with Ryan Hunter-Reay finishing second and Helio Castroneves coming in third.
Will Power said after the race, “Man, I’m mentally tired. That was physical and hard, but pretty stoked to get the first win for Verizon as the series sponsor with the Verizon car. It’s a great day, a great stop there when we all pitted at the same time, the boys got me out there. Really happy with that and we executed well. …The field is so tight that I’m just happy we had a good race car today. Didn’t quite have the pace in qualifying. That’s how you want to start the season. Last year was horrible, and this year it’s good to get a points lead.”
And in regards to the controversial restart that he led on lap 82? “They threw the green early, I thought we were meant to go in that zone. So that was–I was surprised. I don’t really know what happened behind me.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay stated, “It was a good day a little strange at times. Not really sure where we were at times but we just hung in there position wish and kept pushing 110% and just had a good little fight with Helio (Castroneves) there and got by him. Will was really good! We were matching each other there at the end lap for lap so I was pushing as hard as I possibly could. I couldn’t catch him. But good points today for the #28 DHL Honda. We are happy to start the season out this way and happy to go to Long Beach.”
Helio Castroneves also said, “I will take it. Obviously I started the race, the qualifying was a little tricky for us but I knew I had a very fast car, no question. And I was pushing as hard as I could during the race. Unfortunately, one of the restarts was a poker game with Will. But you know it's ok, it's good. He was fast in the end and it was very difficult to push it. Plus with the tires that we had to scuffed at the end, it turned out to be a great race.”