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Qualifying Report: Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG (Mar. 9, 2024) -- After missing the morning practice due to a mechanical issue, Santino Ferrucci and the AJ Foyt Racing team turned their luck around with Ferrucci posting a strong qualifying run in the No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet for the Firestone Grand Prix in St. Petersburg this afternoon.


"It's a solid day. Missing practice this morning definitely hurt us in qualifying," Ferrucci said after his qualifying run. "How much? Probably enough to make it into the fast twelve. Just having those extra laps this morning and two sets of sticker tires before you move into qualifying, you know, it's a big help for the driver. But you know when you miss it by just two hundredths (of a second), you're kind of like, well, I had that in the bag too. So very proud of the team and the job they did with the Sexton Properties Chevrolet. We've come a long way through the winter. I think everything's going really well. I believe we have a solid race car for tomorrow and our goal would be to finish inside the top 10."

Ferrucci fistbumps Team President Larry Foyt after his run. Ferrucci's wife Renay watches the INDYCAR timing screen.


Ferrucci, whose lap of 59.81 seconds (108.328 mph) was just two hundredths of a second from advancing to the next round, will start 14th alongside defending NTT INDYCAR Series champion Alex Palou.


Sting Ray Robb, who joined the team this year along with most of his engineering staff, will start just behind Graham Rahal on row 12 in 24th after posting a time of 1 minute, .41 seconds (107.263 mph) in the Chevrolet around the 14-turn 1.8-mile street course.


"The car itself I was really happy with," said the 22-year-old Idahoan. "We've come a long way in just a few test days that we had in the preseason. I think we have a really good race car in the Chevrolet. I'm interested to see what it'll be like in the warm-up with the tires we select. Overall, there's a lot to look forward to."

Robb talks about his car's handling with his race engineer Mike Armbrester.


Asked about joining the Foyt team, Robb replied, "I think everything is really good. I'm really happy with everyone here. I think it's going to be something that builds over time. We're still learning each other. There's a lot of new guys on the team, including myself. So, I'm just working on building that relationship and communication."


A.J. Foyt did not make the trip east from his Houston home but called to say, "Tell the boys they did a good job today, especially the drivers. I'm proud of them. I'll be watching tomorrow."


Driving the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, Josef Newgarden claimed the NTT P1 Award in the final seconds with a time of 59.57 seconds (108.777mph) for his 17th career pole position. Rounding out the Firestone Fast Six were Felix Rosenqvist, Pato O'Ward, Colton Herta, Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson.

The 100-lap race will be broadcast live Sunday starting at 12 noon ET on NBC and will be streamed live on Peacock and broadcast on the INDYCAR Radio Network.


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