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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (February 27, 2022) – Defending series champion Alex Palou got his title defense off to a good start in 2022, taking second place in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in his #10 Honda-powered Chip Ganassi Racing machine.
Finishing just half a second behind race winner Scott McLaughlin, Palou’s pivotal moment came during the first round of pit stops. Starting tenth following a practice crash, the #10 crew pitted under caution—due to a crash by rookie David Malukas—and Palou’s crew was able to jump several cars and get the champ out in a net-podium position. The incident would end up being the only caution during the typically-chaotic street race.
Honda also powered Andretti Autosport drivers Colton Herta—the 2021 St. Pete race winner—and Romain Grosjean to top five finishes to kick off the 2022 season, and claimed 11 of the top 15 finishing positions in the field.
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Honda Qualifying Results
R – Rookie
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Manufacturers’ Championship (unofficial, after 1 of 17 rounds)
Chevrolet 91 points
Honda 72 points
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Drivers’ Championship Standings (unofficial, after 1 of 17 rounds)
1. Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske
2. Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
3. Will Power, Team Penske
4. Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport Honda
5. Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport Honda
Alex Palou (#10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started 10th, finished second: “First of all, Scott [McLaughlin, race winner] did an amazing job. Congratulations to him on his first win. Super happy with the #10 NTT Data Honda car, it was really good today. If you look at how the result we got today, compared to how [poorly] we started the weekend, I think the entire Chip Ganassi team did an incredible job in coming back and scoring our first podium [finish] of the year. We came up a little short there at the end, but we were close, we were very close. If this is one of our worst races this year, I will be really, really pleased.”
Colton Herta (#26 Andretti Autosport Honda) Started third, finished fourth: “We had a good car and a clean race, and that’s how we wanted to start off the year. We passed [Rinus] VeeKay there at the end to finish fourth, so I’m happy about how the day went. For sure we had a small problem early on [the car failed to take a full load of fuel at the first pit stop] that later prevented us from finishing higher up, but overall, happy with our performance throughout the weekend and with the power from our Honda engine.”
David Salters (President and Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race: “It was great to see such a huge crowd on hand to open the 2022 INDYCAR season, and hats off to Alex [Palou] and Chip Ganassi Racing. That was a champions’ drive to bring the car through the field as they did. Unfortunately, we came up a little short at the end, but that’s racing and we know what we need to do. On to Texas.”
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES next heads to the high banks of Texas Motor Speedway for the first oval race of 2022, the EXPEL 375, Sunday, March 20, in Fort Worth, Texas.
Honda Racing social media content and video links from the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg can be found on Instagram (www.instagram.com/hondaracing_hpd), Twitter (twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD). Additional features and long-form videos can be found on the Honda Racing/HPD YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV).