Exclusive Flag to Flag Coverage of The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Sports Talk Florida is proud to be the 2018 exclusive Bay Area home of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. You can follow the race locally on WHBO 1040 AM or by clicking right here where we will stream the audio with the pre-race show starting at 12:30 p.m.

The unpredictability of the Verizon IndyCar Series reached a new and exciting level in Verizon P1 Award qualifying for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, with rookie Robert Wickens taking pole position in his debut event.

On a track slick from light rain, Wickens slipped in a lap at the end of the Firestone Fast Six – the last of three knockout qualifying rounds – to claim the pole for Sunday’s 110-lap race that kicks off the 2018 season. Wickens’ circuit of 1 minute, 1.6643 seconds (105.085 mph) in the No. 6 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda bested seven-time St. Petersburg pole winner Will Power by less than a tenth of a second for top honors.

With all Verizon IndyCar Series entries running the new-look car with its universal aero kit for the first time in competition this weekend, the leaderboard throughout practice has been in a constant state of flux. The trend continued in qualifying, as three drivers making their series debuts – Wickens, Jordan King and Matheus “Matt” Leist – advanced to the Firestone Fast Six.

King, in fact, set the new lap record for the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street course in the first round of qualifying with a lap of 1:00.0476 (107.914 mph), eclipsing Power’s old standard from 2016 by nearly two-hundredths of a second.

Here is the rest of the field.

1. (6) Robert Wickens, Honda, 01:01.6643 (105.085)
2. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:01.7346 (104.965)
3. (4) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 01:01.7631 (104.917)
4. (20) Jordan King, Chevrolet, 01:01.7633 (104.917)
5. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:01.8821 (104.715)
6. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:02.0385 (104.451)
7. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 01:00.9986 (106.232)
8. (88) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, 01:01.1191 (106.023)
9. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:01.6527 (105.105)
10. (14) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 01:01.7213 (104.988)
11. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:04.6739 (100.195)
12. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:07.0377 (96.662)
13. (1) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:00.4320 (107.228)
14. (18) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 01:00.9587 (106.301)
15. (26) Zach Veach, Honda, 01:00.4585 (107.181)
16. (21) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 01:00.9668 (106.287)
17. (10) Ed Jones, Honda, 01:00.5009 (107.106)
18. (98) Marco Andretti, Honda, 01:01.3013 (105.707)
19. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:01.0270 (106.183)
20. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 01:01.3360 (105.648)
21. (23) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 01:01.1868 (105.905)
22. (19) Zachary Claman De Melo, Honda, 01:01.8567 (104.758)
23. (32) Rene Binder, Chevrolet, 01:01.7003 (105.024)
24. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:04.0990 (101.094)

Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.