Practice Report: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

March 10, 2018

 

Photos by Action Sports Photography

 

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—As the Verizon IndyCar Series opened their 2018 season on the streets of St. Petersburg Friday morning, A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply Racing team was in the top 10 when the checkered fell.

 

In practice 1, Matheus ‘Matt’ Leist surprised everyone (including himself) when he

 

emerged as quickest of the 24 starters. His teammate Tony Kanaan set the pace early and then elected not to put on new tires towards the end of the season.

 

Rookie Leist was in the top 10 from the beginning of the session and then popped up to the top of the speed chart in the final minutes after putting on fresh tires, as did many of those behind him. In the second session, Kanaan showed the consistency expected of a veteran with another ninth place performance while Leist dipped to 12th in that session.

 

Kanaan summarized his day, saying, “It was a decent first day. The biggest accomplishment we wanted to do was have the ABC Supply team running all day. We did that and everybody stayed calm. We had a very good first session and I knew people were going to step it up [in the second session] so now we just need to keep our heads together. It was a decent second session, we’re there. The goal obviously is to win races but we came here to be realistic and I think if we are in the top 10 for this first race and what we’re building, it would be really good. We’re there right now [inside top 10] so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

 

Leist, whose first session in an IndyCar resulted in P1, was pleased with his team’s efforts and is confident about their chances this weekend.