Qualifying Report: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

March 11, 2018

 

 

 

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—In the first qualifying session of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season, the ABC Supply team served notice that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

 

Matheus "Matt" Leist, 19, qualified third in the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet in his career first IndyCar qualifying session while Tony Kanaan qualified 10th in the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet. The strong performance by the youngest driver in the field made A.J. Foyt smile and tell him afterwards, “You did a great job today! I’m proud of you.”

 

“I’m very happy with the whole ABC Supply team and with our performance throughout the whole weekend,” Leist said afterwards. “I’m looking forward to my first IndyCar race. It will be my first time doing pit stops, saving fuel and saving tires, so I have a lot of things to learn yet.

 

Giving credit to his teammate, Leist continued, "Tony is a very special guy, he’s been helping me a lot, not just inside the track but outside the track as well. And not just him, but A.J., Larry, and everyone on the team is helping me a lot because I’m a rookie. Tony is a very special guy and I’m super grateful to have him as a teammate. I grew up watching him and Helio [Castroneves], so having him as a teammate is a dream come true for me.”

 Leist cinches his helmet as his race engineer Mike Colliver looks on.

 

En route to his impressive run in the final round, the rookie had less than two minutes in the first round to lay down just one quick lap after the session was red-flagged for an accident. He came through to advance to Round 2 where he went up against 11 o