Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Grand Prix of St. Petersburg: Will Power takes the poll again for Sunday's race

ST. PETERSBURG — Will Power will start from the pole at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Again.

The two-time Grand Prix winner and 2014 IndyCar Series champion claimed the pole here for the seventh time in eight years by clocking a lap of 61.0640 seconds during Saturday's qualifying session. He topped Scott Dixon, 2013 Grand Prix winner James Hinchcliffe and Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden and will start first in today's season opener.

"Very happy to be on the pole," Power said.

He'll be happier if he can actually start (and finish) the race around the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course. He missed the Grand Prix last year because of nausea and dizziness, which were diagnosed as a concussion at the time.

Mario Andretti weighs in

Racing legend Mario Andretti remains optimistic about the health of the series, especially after IndyCar announced multi-year extensions with Honda, Chevrolet, Firestone and Dallara this weekend.

"That's what you need. … " Andretti said. "There's no question that the series has been gaining momentum. They had a lot of ground to make up since the mistakes that were made in the '90s. A lot of ground that NASCAR had gained. …

"The level of talent in this series right now is unprecedented. My wife says, 'Look at all these drivers, they're all young.' Yes! That's wonderful. These are guys that have been around a long time and they're still young. We really have some good, interesting characters. So the series has life, real life."

Read more from.

our Q&A with Andretti at tampabay.com.

From Jupiter to St. Petersburg

Jupiter native Oliver Askew's performance Saturday — a win and a runner-up finish in his first two USF2000 series races — is even more impressive considering where he was six months ago.

"My family ran out of money," Askew said.

Askew is the son of an air traffic controller and a stay-at-home mom. His family didn't have the cash to jump from go-karts to cars, and the 20-year-old didn't have a backup plan for his career.

Askew began making phone calls and landed a scholarship for a spot in an 18-car shootout in California. When Askew won that race, he earned a $200,000 scholarship that got him a ride with Florida-based Cape Motorsports in the USF2000 series — the bottom rung on the Road to Indy ladder. And that led to Saturday's victory, in his second race in the series.

"It's everything," Askew said.

Quote of the day

"He will tell me the setup of his car but he wouldn't tell me the setup of his hair." -- Tony Kanaan on his longtime friend and rival, the well-coiffed Helio Castroneves

By the numbers

265 - Consecutive starts for Tony Kanaan, who hasn't missed a race since 2001. He starts his 20th IndyCar season today

45 - Career poles won by Will Power, fifth most in series history

8 - Times Team Penske has won the Grand Prix, including three in a row

4 - Consecutive times the driver who starts fourth has won the Grand Prix. Josef Newgarden starts fourth today in the No. 2 Chevrolet that Juan Pablo Montoya drove to victory each of the last two years

4.3 - Average starting position for the race winner since 2005. The driver who started fourth has won the Grand Prix four times in a row

4 - Former race winners in the field (Power, Helio Castroneves, Graham Rahal and James Hinchcliffe)

Nuts and bolts

St. Petersburg resident Sebastien Bourdais hit the tire wall during qualifying. He'll start last in the 21-car field. … Andrew Aquilante, who swept the Pirelli World Challenge's GTS class races, used an entirely St. Petersburg-based crew.

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

Grand Prix of St. Petersburg: Will Power takes the poll again for Sunday's race 03/11/17 [Last modified: Saturday, March 11, 2017 7:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Back to .500, Rays feel ready to roll (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Who wants to be mediocre? Middling? Average? Run-of-the-mill?

    Rays catcher Jesus Sucre tags out the Angels’ Mike Trout trying to score from second base after a perfect peg from rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. in the first inning.
  2. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. preserves shutout with perfect throw

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The closest the Angels came to scoring off RHP Matt Andriese in Thursday's 4-0 Rays victory occurred in the first inning, when DH Mike Trout tried to score from second on a single to right. But the throw from RF Steven Souza Jr. was on the money, and Trout was out.

    "That …

    Colby Rasmus collects high fives and shoulder rubs after driving in all four of the Rays’ runs in their victory Thursday. Rasmus had two run-scoring hits a day after hitting a home run.
  3. Rays at Twins, 8:10 p.m. Friday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Twins

    8:10, Target Field, Minnesota

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (3-3, 3.76)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    If you're walking, you're hitting, as the saying goes, so it's a good sign that RF Steven Souza Jr. reached base four times, with a hit by pitch, a single and two walks. Hitters feel they are coming out of slumps when they are walking, because they are seeing the ball better. That's good news for the Rays …

  5. Fennelly: Dirk Koetter's apology no way to keep this fidget spinning

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It all began with a fidget spinner.

    This tweet from the Bucs, mocking the Falcons' 28-3 lead they lost in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, prompted a public apology from head coach Dirk Koetter, who called it "unprofessional and not smart."