Marco Andretti, driver of the No. 27 hhgregg Honda, came into the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with a new crew and strategist, and he was able to use that to his advantage to score a solid finish.
Bryan Herta, who was the strategist for teammate Alexander Rossi last year, moved to Andretti’s team during the off season. The Nazareth, Pennsylvania native didn’t have a great season last year, with only two top-10 finishes during the whole season. The American driver led the first practice on Friday, and finished in the top-10 during the second practice.
Qualifying, however, didn’t go Andretti’s way after showing a lot of speed earlier in the weekend as Andretti placed 15th.
When the green flag was waved, he quickly worked his way into the top-10 with some help from a strategy call where he stayed for most of the race. When the checkered flag waved, Andretti crossed the line in the seventh position.
“We started P15; I would’ve liked to have seen a better pace,” Andretti said. “We were struggling overall with grip, not going one way or the other. We hung on to salvage a top 10 with seventh, and that’s what we needed to do on days like this. After qualifying where we did, you gotta take a top 10. We also got a yellow in our favor today and that’s what it’s going to take to be just as lucky as good. Hopefully we can be both all year and stay strong in points for the hhgregg team.”