Penske teammates went head-to-head in Southern Florida.
In the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Juan Pablo Montoya showed everybody that the speed he had from his CART and Formula One days hadn’t left him.
"To be honest with you, I was kind of stressed," said Montoya. "After the first run, I was like just get to the end, take some points and go home. Behind Simon, I was pushing hard. I knew I was quicker than him, but it wasn't enough to make a move."
"Last year was very disappointing. It was tough not only here but generally on the street courses. I'm a guy that always excelled at street courses everywhere I raced. To come here and have a year with really bad street course racing, it was pretty tough. I was never happy with the car."
"You know, with my engineers, we decided to go in a completely different way the than the other guys. It paid off. My pace on black tires was pretty, pretty good."
Despite starting fourth and last of the Penske quartet, JPM was able to get ahead thanks to having faster pit stops and some contact that removed one of the “rabbit ears” from pole sitter Will Power’s car.
Power vs. Montoya
Power led 75 laps out of the 110 scheduled, but had a slow last pit stop that delayed his exit thanks to the air jacks not deflating soon enough. That small delay allowed Montoya to get past and get a small lead that dwindled lap by lap as Power caught up to Montoya. Power was right behind Montoya and on lap 100 made an attempt to overtake in turn 10. Unfortunately, Power was not far enough alongside Montoya and a small appendage on the right half of his front wing became dislodged, affecting the amount of downforce his car was able to generate.
Power and Montoya caught traffic soon after but Power was unable to quickly get around Sage Karam, giving Montoya enough of a gap where he could almost rest easy, despite Power coming in second place by just under one second.
Best of the rest
Tony Kanaan was third for Chip Ganassi Racing, breaking up the Penske party at the front as Helio Castroneves was fourth and Simon Pagenaud was fifth.
The top Honda runner was Ryan Hunter-Reay. The Honda entries suffered from excessive shedding of fragile front wing elements. At one point, the broadcast showed seven front wings changed for Honda cars compared to one Chevrolet. This might have been the major difference in deciding the finishing order; seven of the top nine finishers were Chevrolet, while seven of the bottom nine finishers were Honda.
The race was slowed by five caution periods.
|Pos||Driver||Car / Engine||Time/Gap|
|19||Sage Karam||Dallara/Chevrolet||1 Lap|
|20||Stefano Coletti||Dallara/Chevrolet||1 Lap|
|21||Charlie Kimball||Dallara/Chevrolet||1 Lap|
|22||James Jakes||Dallara/Honda||10 Laps|