- Marcus Ericsson makes his mark in NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opener, late-race pass seals victory at Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
- Teammate Scott Dixon claims third for Honda and Chip Ganassi Racing
- Graham Rahal runs sixth in strong opening-race performance
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 5, 2023) – Taking advantage of a late-race opportunity, Marcus Ericsson moved past race leader Pato O’Ward to take the victory in Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Moving into the lead with just four laps remaining in the 100-lap contest, Ericsson claimed his fourth career INDYCAR win and his first since winning last year’s Indianapolis 500.
The stage was set for an incident-filled race shortly after the green flag, when a multi-car pileup exiting Turn 3 led to a red flag. After approximately 19 minutes, the race resumed, but the caution flag would wave five more times for various incidents throughout the 100-lap contest.
Ericsson’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, six-time series champion Scott Dixon, rounded out the St. Petersburg podium with a well-judged run to third; while veteran Graham Rahal jumped from 20th on the starting grid to sixth at the finish following an overnight brake change aboard his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda.
Today’s win for Ericsson and Honda is also the first in a major racing series using 100% renewable fuel. The second-generation ethanol supplied to the full INDYCAR field by Shell provides a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and does not impact the food chain.
In addition to the Shell 100% renewable race fuel, the St. Petersburg race also featured the 2023 debut of Firestone Firehawk race tires made with natural guayule natural rubber grown and extracted at the company’s R&D facility in Arizona. Featuring a green sidewall, the guayule served as the softer “alternate” tire for this weekend’s INDYCAR race.
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Honda Race Results
- 1st Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
- 3rd Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
- 6th Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
- 8th Alex Palou Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
- 9th Christian Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
- 10th David Malukas Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Honda
- 11th Marcus Armstrong-R Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
- 15th Sting Ray Robb-R Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda
- 16th Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Autosport Honda
- 18th Romain Grosjean Andretti Autosport Honda
- 19th Colton Herta Andretti Autosport Honda
- 22nd Jack Harvey Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
- 23rd Helio Castroneves Meyer Shank Racing Honda
- 25th Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Autosport Honda
- 26th Simon Pagenaud Meyer Shank Racing Honda
R – Rookie
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Manufacturers’ Championship (unofficial, after 1 of 17 rounds)
Honda 91 points
Chevrolet 72 points
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Drivers’ Championship Standings (unofficial, after 1 of 17 rounds)
- 1. Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 51 points
- 2. Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren 41
- 3. Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 36
- 4. Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren 32
Marcus Ericsson (#8 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) race winner: “We’ve had such a good weekend, the car has been fantastic all the way through, and the Honda was super strong all weekend. I’m really proud of the way Chip Ganassi Racing has started out this season. We’re here to win the championship. We won the 500 last year and we were leading the championship for a long time. So that’s our mission this year, and this is a good start.”
Scott Dixon (#9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) finished third: “It was a great day for all of us at Chip Ganassi Racing – and obviously tremendous for [race winner] Marcus [Ericsson]. We had a great car all weekend, all credit to our team. It was great today to get the driveability and tuneability out of the Honda, plus the fuel mileage was fantastic, so it was easy to get what we needed, which gave us all the pit strategy options we needed.”
Graham Rahal (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) finished sixth: “Our guys did a tremendous job today, very proud of them. I thought the Honda engine was really strong for me. I know this weekend didn’t start the way we wanted [qualifying 20th]. Literally, it was the brakes. Once we swapped the brakes out, our weekend got a heck of a lot better. This race was all about whoever was going to race the smartest. They’d find their way to the front and that’s pretty much how it played out.”
David Salters (President and Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on today’s season-opening victory for Honda at Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg: “Pole on Saturday and race win on Sunday, that’s a pretty good weekend! Well done to the marvelous women and men at HPD for all their hard work, as well as everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. The teamwork paid off. It been a busy off-season and it’s nice to see everyone’s efforts rewarded.
“I would also like to note the standout work from INDYCAR, Shell, Firestone and both engine manufacturers on sustainability – particularly with the renewable fuel and guayule tires. We really are leading the motorsports world in terms of sustainability.”
With today’s win by Marcus Ericsson, Honda-powered drivers have now won 11 of the 19 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races at St. Petersburg since the event was revived for the 2005 season. The late Dan Wheldon led a Honda and Andretti Green Racing sweep of the top four positions in the inaugural 2005 event; while Colton Herta dominated in 2021 for Honda and Andretti Autosport.
Other Honda winners on the streets of St. Petersburg include local resident Sebastian Bourdais in 2017-18; Helio Castroneves in 2006 and ’07; Graham Rahal in 2008; Team Penske’s Ryan Briscoe and Will Power in 2009 and ’10, respectively; and Dario Franchitti in 2011.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES next heads to the high banks of Texas Motor Speedway for the first oval race of 2023, the PPG 375, on Sunday, April 2, in Fort Worth, Texas.
Honda Racing social media content and video links from St. Petersburg can be found on: Instagram (www.instagram.com/hondaracing_hpd)