Colton Herta led the 30-minute final practice Sunday for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding, reinforcing his status as a favorite to win the race this afternoon.
Herta’s best lap was 1 minute, .5886 of a second on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile circuit in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda. Herta will start the race at noon ET today (NBC, Peacock, Telemundo Deportes on Universo, INDYCAR Radio Network) in the second position.
Andretti Autosport locked out the top two spots in the 30-minute session under thickening clouds and amid sticky humidity. Kyle Kirkwood, who will start fifth, ended up second at 1:00.7213 in the No. 27 AutoNation Honda.
SEE: Practice Results | Starting Lineup
Michael Andretti’s team also owns the front row of the starting grid, as Romain Grosjean won the NTT P1 Award on Saturday in the No. 28 DHL Honda. Grosjean slipped to 11th this morning in practice at 1:01.2888.
Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon ended up third in practice at 1:00.8377 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Dixon will start ninth as he seeks his first St. Petersburg victory.
Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves rebounded from qualifying 15th to post the fourth-quickest lap this morning, 1:00.9833, in the No. 06 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda. Callum Ilott rounded out the top five at 1:01.0320 in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet.
Rear-brake lockup on corner entry, evident in puffs of tire smoke since the first practice Friday afternoon, continued to plague a variety of drivers. Two-time series champion Josef Newgarden and race winner Felix Rosenqvist were among the drivers who either spun or slid through braking zones due to rear-wheel lockup during this session.