Hunter-Reay, Honda Set Opening-Day Pace in St. Petersburg
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay leads a 24-car field as 2019 season begins
  • Five Honda drivers post top-seven times in practice

As he did in 2018, Honda-powered Ryan Hunter-Reay again led the way in opening day practice to officially start the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season in advance of Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Even by NTT IndyCar Series standards, the 24-car field was incredibly close after a pair of Friday practice sessions, with less than three-tenths of a second separating the top 10, and less than eight-tenths of a second between first and 20th positions on the opening-day timesheet.

Marco Andretti ended the day an encouraging third quickest, while Colton Herta led the five rookies in the field and ran fourth on the day.  Alexander Rossi finished sixth overall, with previous St. Petersburg race winner James Hinchcliffe seventh, as Honda drivers claimed five of the top seven positions.

Activities on the temporary street circuit continue tomorrow with final practice and qualifying.  Sunday’s 110-lap season-opening race starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT, with live network television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport Honda) quickest in opening-day practice: “We definitely made some changes between the sessions. At first, I thought the car was a bit of a handful, and it still is, we are right on the edge of tipping it over. But it was a good outing. The car is a handful at the moment; I’d like it to be a little bit more ‘polite’ in a few areas. We will put our heads together as a team and work to get this #28 DHL Honda up front, but it is a good first step.”

NTT IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Circuit: Bayfront Park (1.8-mile temporary street circuit) St. Petersburg, FL
2018 Winner: Sebastien Bourdais (DCR with Vasser-Sullivan Honda) 86.207 mph average
Weather: Sunny, warm, 78 degrees F

Top-10 Friday Practice Session Results:

Ps. Driver       Team Manufacturer Best Time Notes
  1. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda 1:00.8969 106.409 mph avg.
  2. Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 1:00.9812  
  3. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda 1:01.0351  
  4. Colton Herta-R Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda 1:01.0776  
  5. Max Chilton Carlin Racing Chevrolet 1:01.1171  
  6. Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Honda 1:01.1388  
  7. James Hinchcliffe Arrow Schmidt Peterson Honda 1:01.1453  
  8. Charlie Kimball Carlin Racing Chevrolet 1:01.1681  
  9. Josef Newgarden Team Penske Chevrolet 1:01.1811  
10. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 1:01.1896  

Other Honda Results

11. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 1:01.2129  
12. Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 1:01.2700  
13. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 1:01.4284  
14. Felix Rosenqvist-R Chip Ganassi Racing             Honda 1:01.5020  
18. Sebastien Bourdais DCR with Vasser-Sullivan      Honda 1:01.5635  
19. Marcus Ericsson-R Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 1:01.6238  
20. Jack Harvey Michael Shank Racing Honda 1:01.6610  
21. Santino Ferrucci-R Dale Coyne Racing                 Honda 1:01.6736  
23. Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Honda 1:02.0331  
News Reporter