(ST PETERSBURG, FL) – The first race of the 2015 IndyCar season is now in the books after Columbia Juan Pablo Montoya, in the No. 2 Verizon, took over the lead in lap 84 and held on to win the Grand Prix of St Petersburg on Sunday.
“Today was a good day, to be honest with you,” Montoya said. “When I needed to push, I could push.”
Pole sitter, and 2014 St Petersburg winner, Will Power, driving the No. 1 Verizon, led the race three times for a total of 75 laps, finished just 0.99 seconds behind Montoya and followed by No. 10 NTT Data driver Tony Kanaan 11.1 seconds back.
Power made a late attempt to retake the lead by Montoya gave him no room.
“That was the only place that I could kind of get a run on him. He was very good out of the last corner, so the only chance I had to get around and drive past him was there, but I think he saw me,” explained Power. “It was kind of optimistic, but if he would have gave me something, I would have taken it; but he didn’t. He did what anyone would have done. He was phenomenally fast.”
Montoya qualified fourth in St Petersburg and ran in the lead for 27 laps after passing Power. Meanwhile Kanaan moved up four places from his seventh place starting position.
“It was a really fun race for us and I’m just so happy that I was able to get NTT DATA Racing a podium finish in the first race out,” said Kanaan. “We still have some things to work on to get better as a team, but I’m pretty happy with today’s finish.”
Helio Castroneves, who finished fourth, had the fastest lap on the day, clocking in at 104.751 mph on Lap 90.
“The car was fast. We didn’t end up where we would have liked to be, but overall we had a good day,” Castroneves said. “Really happy for Juan (Montoya) and congratulations to him on the win and to Will (Power) on his podium finish.”
Canadian James Hinchcliffe started and finished in 16th place.
Next on the agenda is the first ever Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana from April 10 through 12 at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, LA.