Winners and Losers: St. Petersburg

Here are your winners, losers, and Cone of Shame winner following the 2017 Firestone Grand Prix at St. Petersburg:

Winners

Sebastien Bourdais
Where did this come from? I thought the Sebastien Bourdais and Dale Coyne Racing would be a solid combination, but winning in their first race back together after starting last? Bourdais did catch a lucky yellow, but he was incredibly fast when he got into the lead. Is this a one-hit wonder or is he a championship contender?


Honda
After thoroughly getting destroyed be Chevrolet at just about every stop over the last couple of seasons, Honda finally has some confidence building for the 2017 season and potentially a title-run.


Simon Pagenaud
It looked like after qualifying, Simon Pagenaud was in for a rough start to his title defending season. No matter, as Simon managed to use strategy and skill to finish P2. I think the rest of the IndyCar field should be worried.


Scott Dixon
Despite taunting race control after the race, saying that they ruined his third place effort, Scott Dixon got just the start he needed to his championship effort. I was worried that with all of the offseason stresses, this team and car would not be up to snuff this year, but they did a great job.



Losers

Chevrolet
Chevrolet serious got their asses handed to them in the first round of the championship, which is something that has seldom happened in the aero kit era. Had it not been for Team Penske, Chevrolet would have been a mockery.


AJ Foyt Enterprises
Part of the Chevrolet woes included AJ Foyt Enterprises, who did not have a great start to their new era. Carlos Munoz was involved in accident on the first lap and would later retire, while Conor Daly, who was woeful in practice sessions, was pacey in the race but could not pull together a good finish. Can this team fulfill the hype generated this offseason?


Graham Rahal
Graham Rahal collided with, who else, Charlie Kimball, on the first lap of the season. Kimball wasn't exactly in the wrong on this one, but Rahal, who figures to be a championship contender, has another rough outing in St. Petersburg.


ABC
I wonder how many of us will either a) go to the doctors today to take care of our bleeding ears from listening to the commentary from ABC and/or b) not spend our money from the 564,331 commercials we were subjected to yesterday.



Cone of Shame



Jon Bouslog
Will Power lost his strategist, Tim Cindric, to Team Penske newcomer Josef Newgarden. Power got Juan Pablo Montoya's old strategist, Jon Bouslog. Their first race together did not go very well. While running third in the late stages of the race, something happened. Some speculate that Power's engine needed to be cycled because it wasn't running at 100%, while others say he was going to be drastically short on fuel. Whatever the circumstance, Power got the call from the stand to slow way down so he could hit a number. There's hitting a fuel number, and then there's looking like a complete fool on the track. Power got passed by everyone, which reminded me of the days where drivers like Milka Duno and Hiro Matsushita were roaming the track. It was so bad that Power was black flagged for falling below the minimum speed limit, and they just retired the car altogether. Just what in the hell were they doing on that pit stand? Would Cindric ever have called a strategy like that? If he's that short on fuel, make a splash-and-dash. If his car has issues, bring him in, don't leave him out there to dry. Just pitiful.


Thanks for reading!

-Matthew Hickey