Sunny Florida welcomed the Verizon IndyCar Series 2017 opener to St. Petersburg, for the seventh-consecutive year, the same race where Alexander Rossi made his IndyCar debut just one year earlier. Winding through the city’s streets, the 110-lap race saw plenty of action.
Rossi’s No. 98 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda clocked fast speeds throughout three practice and continued through qualifying. The 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year moved through Round 1 of qualifying and battled through Round 2, just missing the opportunity to compete in the Firestone Fast Six. When qualifying concluded, Rossi had earned the eighth grid position.
During the race, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 champion had run as high as sixth and fought to maintain a top-10 running position. With a yellow flag interfering with the planned strategy, Rossi was forced to pit early, resulting in the loss of positions. While running his third stint, a punctured tire required the 25-year-old to pit, off-strategy, once again. While conserving fuel for the remainder of the race and running in the 13th position, Rossi continued to battle. When the checkered flags were waved, the California-native drove his NAPA AUTO PARTS car across the finish line in 11th.
Start / Finish: 8/11
Points Earned: 19
Points Standing / Total: 11th/19
Next Race: April 9, The Streets of Long Beach, Long Beach, California
How to Watch or Listen: 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, Sirius channel 212, XM channel 209
Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport fields multiple entries in the NTT IndyCar Series, including the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS / AutoNation Honda piloted by Alexander Rossi. The global racing enterprise boasts over 200 total race wins, four IndyCar Series championships, four Indy Lights championships, one Indy Pro 2000 and one USF2000 championship. The team has also captured victory five times at the famed Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, including the 100th Running with Alexander Rossi in 2016.