The 2023 NTT INDYCAR Series Season Opened with Friday’s Practice Session Held in Windy Conditions; Firestone GP of St. Pete Qualifying on Saturday

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingFirestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, March 3, 2023


1)         Scott Dixon                            1:01.6145 / 105.170 mph
17)       Jack Harvey                           1:02.3236 / 103.973 mph
25)       Christian Lundgaard             1:03.0412 / 102.720 mph
26)       Graham Rahal                       1:03.1389 / 102.631 mph      

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We are really lacking rear support and grip, which is natural.  Everybody is lacking grip but we’ve got to find a way to get some consistency. I can’t hit the brake pedal. I went straight on five or six times in the session which is not normal, and we ultimately ended our session with a wall brush due to the rear brakes locking, which shit the engine off and the whole deal. We’ve got to look into it, figure out what’s going on and get the United Rentals car turned around overnight. Its close, its competitive. Only 1.4 seconds separates us from first and we’re in the back. Frankly I feel that I can’t push at all. That’s a positive actually, which may sound weird, but it’s a positive because I think we can find a lot of that gap if we can find some stability.” 

  • FAST FACTS: Will make his 16th start at the track… His best start here is pole in 2009 and best finish is a win in 2008 in his IndyCar Series debut – both history-making moments at the time as he became the youngest race winner in series history (2008), and youngest pole winner in series history (2009). Both records were eclipsed in 2019 by Colton Herta but he held them for 10 and 11 years, respectively.  Overall, he has earned one top-five and seven top-10 starts here and has two top-five and six top-10 finishes. Year-by-year details are available upon request… Has SIX INDYCAR SERIES wins (2008 – St. Pete street course; 2015 – Fontana Super Speedway, Mid-Ohio road course; 2016 – Texas Super Speedway; 2017 Detroit Race 1, Detroit Race 2) and three poles (2009 – St. Pete street course, Kansas oval; 2017 – Detroit Race 1 street) and his highest series season-ending standing is fourth place in 2015.

JACK HARVEY, No. 45 Kustom Entertainment Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I thought that was a good start for us there. Every time we went on track, I thought we were a top-10 car. We went to new tires at the end to improve our time but found another car that wouldn’t move out of the way but I thought we had a potential top-10 car. The balance was pretty good so hopefully we just keep that going throughout the weekend.”

  • FAST FACTS: The 2023 race will be his sixth here. To date, he has started in the top-five two of five races and has two, top-10 finishes with his best being fourth place in 2021. His career best start is second place three times – including at St. Pete in 2021 – and top finish of third at the Indy GP in 2019. Last year he started 23rd and was the first to stop to replace the less durable alternate Firestone tires on Lap 8 of 100 and was on a three-stop strategy. He made up ground and ultimately finished 13th.

CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD, No. 45 Hy-Vee Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “That was not the way we wanted to finish the session, (brushed the wall; damaged car) but I think there are some positives to take from the session. We didn’t really have the competitive car that we hoped and expected to have. The wind is quite strong out there and if that’s what messed up the balance, I don’t know. Apparently, that’s across two of our cars so we’ll have to dig deep tomorrow and see how much we can improve for qualifying.”

  •  FAST FACTS: 2022 INDYCAR Rookie of the Year Christian Lundgaard, 21, will begin his second season in the series in 2023 and attempt to better his top start of third place in Nashville and Portland in 2022 and his highest finish of second place in the July ’22 Indy Grand Prix. In St. Pete last year, he started 15th, pit for his second and final stop after cycling up to fourth place and finished 11th.

NEXT UP:  Practice 2 will take place from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. ET tomorrow and qualifying will take place from 2:15 – 3:30 p.m. Both sessions will be televised live on Peacock.  The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be televised live on NBC beginning at 12 PM ET on Sunday, March 5 and the Green Flag will fly at 12:30 PM ET.