After a productive final test day this week at the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course, Irish driver James Roe looks to carry his strong form into the first race of the INDY NXT™ by Firestone season, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.
Roe, who announced partnerships with Ring Power Corporation, CES Power, and Strong Roots in recent weeks, produced the third-quickest lap of the test day in his No. 29 Topcon Andretti Autosport Dallara.
“That obviously was a positive test heading into the season,” Roe said. “It was a very productive test. We got through a lot of the changes we wanted to try, and as a team, we were quite strong. Encouraged to be in the top three and up at the front throughout.”
Both team and driver found gains, as they worked to master the transition of tire compounds of the new tire supplier Firestone. Previously, the INDY NXT cars used Cooper tires. “We’re happy with where it is as a team,” Roe said. “There’s a lot of understanding from the test; we tried a lot of stuff. That was really encouraging to have two cars inside the top 3. Now we’ll have to see how that translates to the streets of St. Petersburg.”
Roe recognizes the challenges of the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary circuit that winds through the asphalt streets of the Florida Gulf Coast city and includes a concrete runway of Albert Whitted Airport. There’s little room for error, with concrete walls lining the course. Roe is optimistic about his and the team’s chances given Andretti’s success at the circuit in recent years. The team won this race last season and one of the two races in 2021. “We just want to get through the weekend, first and foremost, but ultimately show what we’re capable of and here for, fighting up front,” Roe said.
ABOUT THIS RACE
Race: INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Season: Race 1 of 14
Date: 9:50 a.m. ET Sunday, March 5
Track: Streets of St. Petersburg (14-turn, 1.8-mile street circuit)
Other Sessions: Practice, 1:55-2:40 p.m. ET Friday, March 3 and 9-9:45 a.m. Saturday, March
4. Qualifying, 1:35 p.m. Saturday, March 4.
Broadcast: Race live on Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network (U.S.), INDYCAR Live! (outside of
U.S.). Practice and qualifying on INDYCAR Live!, INDYCAR Radio Network (globally). Sky F1