NTT INDYCAR SERIES | RD. 14
PREVIEW: FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG (USA)
The condensed 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES campaign reaches its final destination this weekend, with the field set to take on the only street race of the year in St. Petersburg, Florida. Returning to the location originally slated to stage the season opener, Felix Rosenqvist is carrying high hopes of a strong finale at a personal venue of choice.
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg traditionally marks the opening round of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, but was called off at the last moment – with teams and drivers on site in the paddock – back in March during the initial outbreak of coronavirus.
A largely reworked calendar later forced the championship to cancel several events, most notably the street tracks – a trademark Rosenqvist strength – with Long Beach, Detroit and Toronto all dropped from the schedule.
Organizers were ultimately able to reinstate St. Petersburg in a revised slot at the other end of the calendar, however, making it the season-finale.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic means INDYCAR has not raced at a street track since Toronto in July of 2019 – more than a year ago – making the return to St. Petersburg (2019 images below) a long-awaited occasion for Rosenqvist in the #10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing entry.
“It’s great to finish this highly unusual season with a street race,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “It’s a type of track that usually suits me well and I had a strong race to fourth in St. Pete on my INDYCAR debut last year. We haven’t raced at a street track for over a year, which I think could be an advantage too as I tend to get up to speed pretty fast. There are a lot of uncertainties, for sure, but I’ve got a good feeling and I really want to end this year on a high.”
Rosenqvist enters the finale currently holding tenth in the standings following a season of mixed success. A maiden victory at Road America remains the undisputed highlight, and the Swede is in realistic contention for a top eight finish in the overall classification.
“We can still finish inside the top eight, so that will be one of my targets this weekend,” Felix Rosenqvist explains. “Although I would have hoped to be in a better position at this stage of the season, we have one more chance to win, and that’s what we’ll be working to achieve.”
With one final race to go, the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES title battle is played out between Rosenqvist’s CGR team-mate Scott Dixon and Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden.
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg takes place across Saturday and Sunday, with the 100-lap race going green at 2:20 pm on Sunday afternoon local time.
Felix Rosenqvist’s NTT DATA-backed #10 car will sport an all-blue livery this weekend, reminiscent of the colour scheme used for a large proportion of the 2019 season.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES | Rd. 14
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
All times local (U.S. Eastern)
Saturday 24 October
Free Practice: 10:55 am-12:25 pm
Qualifying: 3:05-4:20 pm
Sunday 25 October
Warm-up: 10:40-11:10 am
Race (100 laps): 2:20 pm
NTT INDYCAR SERIES | After 13/14 races
1: Scott Dixon (NZL), Ganassi, 502 p.
2: Josef Newgarden (USA), Penske, 470 p.
3: Colton Herta (USA), Andretti, 401 p.
4: Will Power (AUS), Penske, 388 p.
5: Pato O’Ward (MEX), McLaren SP, 376 p.
10: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), Ganassi, 294 p.