By Patrick Stephan (@TSO_Patrick)
Good morning from St. Petersburg, Florida where it is currently 61 degrees with 66% humidity under bright and sunny skies. We’ve got some light wind blowing in off the bay, keeping it “chilly” to the locals – but pretty nice for those of us from much colder climates. The track temp around 8:30am was 74 degrees.
After spending Thursday night in Brandon, Florida (45 minutes away on the other side of Tampa), I stayed last night at the Hilton in St. Pete – 5 minutes of walking to reach a gate. Heck the track runs by the normal front door of the track.
More on last night’s activities around this event a bit later, but lets get started with today’s early action.
Things got started with Pro Mazda Race #2 qualifying, which I actually watched from the hotel. Kinda wanted to see/hear what it was like from outside the track. And well, it was nice! If I wasn’t a race fan, the sound wasn’t too much (at least from the 10th floor), but since I AM a race fan – it sounded nice.
Down on the track, it was again Anthony Martin and Victor Franzoni battling for P1, and again it was the Australian taking the pole position. Martin this time turned a lap of 1:13.569 seconds to take the pole over Victor Franzoni, this time the gap being 0.0790 seconds. Yesterday in qualifying for Race #1 – the gap was 0.012 seconds.
Carlos Cunha qualified third, followed by his Team Pelfrey teammate TJ Fischer. and Phillippe Denes from World Speed Motorsports rounded out the Top 5.
Race #2 will run tomorrow after the Verizon IndyCar Series event at 4:30pm ET. Today’s Race #1 will start at 11:50am ET.
|5||15||Phillippe||Denes||1:14.851||1.2818||15||15||World Speed Motorsports|
|7||14||Sting||Ray||1:15.185||1.6164||15||11||World Speed Motorsports|
|8||13||Bobby||Eberle||1:15.957||2.3883||11||11||World Speed Motorsports|
|12||44||Kevin||Davis||1:18.920||5.3510||12||10||Kevin Davis Racing|
We also got a pretty interesting Indy Lights qualifying session for Race #2.
As the ProMazda session finished up, I walked over to 5th Ave South to enter the track, where I found a nice long line, filled mostly with people coming to work at the track. This included race team people, media, and hospitality workers. All of us now freaking out because the line was moving VERY slow. I’m guessing the track staff wasn’t expecting to see so many people at 8:00am.
But, I got in, and with Indy Lights now on track for their 30 minute qualifying session, I decided to head to Honda’s hospitality tent for some breakfast and to watch quals.
When I caught the first glimpse of a time sheet (about 10 minutes in), the Colton Herta was in P1, but then got bumped down by Aaron Telitz and then Pato OWard took the top spot.
A little later we saw Nico Jamin on top, and then Kyle Kaiser as things got more and more competitive.
As the session wound down, Herta retook the top spot with a lap in the 1:06’s, and he’d have to lower than again to keep the pole as Santi Urrutia was also now sub 1:07 seconds.
When the checkered flew, Herta, (who told us yesterday he was hoping for Top-5’s during the early part of the season) had his first career Indy Light’s pole position in just his second qualifying session.
Here are the results of that session. I’ll be back shortly with the report from a really good USF2000 race!
|9||13||Zachary||Claman De Melo||1:07.420||0.8732||21||20||Carlin|