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IndyCar St. Petersburg: Newgarden wins season opener

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Newgarden led 92 laps, shedding the lead after a sluggish first pitstop however battling again to rapidly reaffirm his dominance.

He began from the pole, utilizing the tougher main tyres versus the softer alternates of fellow front-row starter Felix Rosenqvist (Meyer Shank Racing), and led the sector to the primary inexperienced flag of the season.

Newgarden held his high spot via a frantic Flip 1 from Rosenqvist, as Colton Herta (Andretti International, beginning on alternates) grabbed third from Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren, on primaries) across the outdoors at Flip 1 and dived to his inside at Flip 2.

Andretti International’s Marcus Ericsson grabbed fifth, forward of a feisty Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske) and Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing), as a tentative Romain Grosjean (Juncos Hollinger Racing) slumped to eighth after getting shuffled out at Flip 1 as McLaughlin steamed from ninth to sixth, bumping previous VeeKay down the within of the opening nook.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s best-placed driver Christian Lundgaard sustained a right-rear puncture after a contact from behind at Flip 4 and was pressured to pit on the finish of the opening lap.

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Newgarden led Rosenqvist by slightly below a second after 10 laps, with a practice comprising Herta, O’Ward, Ericsson and McLaughlin an extra 3s in arrears because the 100-lap race snoozed into full fuel-saving mode.

Newgarden was main by 1.9s when 10th-placed Marcus Armstrong, the primary of the Chip Ganassi Racing runners, crashed at Flip 10 on lap 26, breaking his front-right nook, bringing out the primary full-course warning of the season. “A expensive mistake,” he rued.

Marcus Armstrong, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Picture by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

Virtually the complete subject descended on St Pete’s tight pitlane, with Herta leaving it within the lead forward of Rosenqvist and Newgarden – who had a tough exit from his pit field as a consequence of O’Ward and fell from the result in third. However Herta was pressured to surrender the lead as replays confirmed that Rosenqvist’s entrance wing beat him to the timing line first.

The race restarted on lap 31 with Lundgaard, the one driver who didn’t cease, main Rosenqvist, Herta, Newgarden, O’Ward and McLaughlin.

VeeKay picked up ninth from Dixon at Flip 1, whereas a fired-up Newgarden (on alternates) handed Herta (on primaries) for second at Flip 4. Herta then misplaced additional spots to O’Ward and McLaughlin as he struggled to warm-up the tougher rubber.

Flying on his alternates, Newgarden attacked the primary-shod Rosenqvist for the online lead at Flip 4 on lap 32, and made a transfer stick a lap later at Flip 1. O’Ward (additionally on alternates) handed Rosenqvist, who was struggling on the primaries like Herta.

Sting Ray Robb (AJ Foyt Racing) then brought about the second full-course yellow when he went off at Flip 1 with a smoking front-right brake disc.

Lundgaard pitted beneath this yellow, recycling Newgarden to the lead, forward of O’Ward, Rosenqvist, McLaughlin and Herta. At this level, Dale Coyne Racing’s rookie Colin Braun suffered a spectacular gas hearth throughout his cease, however he continued.

The race restarted on lap 39, with Newgarden pulling away from O’Ward, whereas McLaughlin stalked Rosenqvist for third. Behind Herta, Ericsson ran sixth from VeeKay, Will Power (Penske), Scott Dixon (CGR) and Grosjean.

Romain Grosjean, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet

Romain Grosjean, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet

Picture by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

On the midway level, Newgarden’s lead was 1s over O’Ward, with Rosenqvist an extra second again having seen off McLaughlin’s problem.

Ericsson’s first run with Andretti ended when his automotive misplaced energy on lap 52, and he dived for the pitlane, shedding his top-six spot. “It got here from nowhere, went to half energy and we tried the whole lot to repair it, however we are able to’t discover the explanation,” he reported.

Energy handed VeeKay for sixth at Flip 10 on lap 60, and Dixon additional demoted VeeKay a few laps later at Flip 1. VeeKay then banged wheels with Grosjean at Flip 4.

The ultimate pitstop cycle was triggered by Grosjean and Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi, the latter selecting up a spot, stopped on lap 64. Newgarden pitted from the lead a lap later (opting to run primaries to the end), adopted in by O’Ward, Rosenqvist and McLaughlin (who switched on to alternates after two main stints).

Herta went a lap longer, spending a tour within the lead, which meant he overcut Rosenqvist and McLaughlin.

McLaughlin handed Rosenqvist for fourth at Flip 10 with 32 laps remaining, simply earlier than Linus Lundqvist backed his CGR automotive into the tyrewall at Flip 10 after Grosjean punted him right into a spin, inflicting the race’s third warning interval. Grosjean would later retire with a gearbox situation following a drive-through penalty for inflicting the crash.

It restarted with 28 laps to go, with Herta struggling a giant slide at Flip 3 however simply managing to carry off McLaughlin there, however it solely took a number of extra corners for the previous Supercars star to ship it previous Herta into Flip 10. Energy, on the identical tyre technique as McLaughlin, additional demoted Herta at Flip 1 a lap later.

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet

Scott McLaughlin, Workforce Penske Chevrolet

Picture by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

McLaughlin charged as much as O’Ward however couldn’t go him, because the two-stop technique nonetheless wanted some gas saving to make the end.

Newgarden pulled out an 8s lead over O’Ward as he stormed to a powerful victory.

O’Ward had the Penske pair of McLaughlin and Energy filling his mirrors within the closing phases: Energy started to assault McLaughlin with 5 laps remaining, which inspired him to reengage with O’Ward.

However the positions stayed the identical to the checker, spelling a Chevrolet 1-2-3-4.

Behind Herta, the perfect of the Honda-powered drivers, reigning champion Alex Palou got here alive within the closing phases, after an nameless race so far, operating an extended center stint and passing Rosenqvist for sixth as he benefited from operating alternates to the end.



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