I will not be taking any questions at this time on the farmer’s tan that I acquired at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
But thankfully, the racing was spectacular. By the way, I finished Sunday with 22,500 steps taken and 10.5 miles covered. You think the NFL Combine will take a look at my 3.2 MPH averaging walking speed?
IndyCar started things in 2022 with a bang. In front of a massive, electric, and rowdy crowd, Scott McLaughlin rode into the Florida sunset with his first career win in the NTT IndyCar Series.
The atmosphere was wild. Even at 8 AM when I rolled in driving up from my parent’s place in Naples, people were making noise as the drivers took their final practice before Indy Lights took the stage to lead off the day.
Any and all supporters around St. Pete on Sunday were gifted a great race. Back and forth we went, but it was McLaughlin, the original pole winner, who won it all; Out-dueling Alex Palou in the final laps, McLaughlin was joined on the podium with fellow Team Penske teammate Will Power.
Last year, Penske had to wait 10 races to get a win. This year, they’re off and running with the next circuit scheduled in Texas in the middle of March.
What’s so interesting about one the most preeminent leadoff races that we have ever seen is the fact that McLaughlin seemingly cruised for most of the race. It never felt like he did not have control.
Defending series champ Palou is slowly but surely becoming IndyCar’s next stone cold killer. Speaking of stone cold, Scott Dixon was eighth slowest to start the weekend in practice number-one, and then he qualified one spot outside of the fast-six.
That’s what Scott Dixon does.
But look at the other storylines too. Meyer Shank Racing is now led by the combo of Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud; And they’re most certainly not competing for some little swan-song. Pagenaud was a fast-six qualifier and got off to a solid start but eventually dropped back. Takuma Sato, Pato O’Ward, and Josef Newgarden were also all aggressive early but finished middle of the pack.
That all tells you one thing.
It’s anybody’s game for the 2022 IndyCar Championship. Remember when Dixon won the first three races of 2020 and then glided to an easy title finish? There’s no indication that will happen this year. If every race is this competitive in qualifying and the actual racing, you could see a new winner every race.
The raucous crowd, palm trees breezing with the wind, Jordan Belfort style yachts in the harbor, smells of the grill, and bright sunshine was the perfect backdrop for IndyCar’s return. People are taking notice. And the month of May will be here before you know it.
Thank you St Pete.