Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport rookie Devlin DeFrancesco completed his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES race, adding 100 laps under his belt at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Qualifying 18th on the grid, DeFrancesco made a strong start moving up to 16th on the opening lap with the faster Firestone red tires. The team elected to pit the 22-year-old Italian-Canadian racer early on Lap 9 to move to Firestone blacks, and DeFrancesco continued to move up the order as the rest of the field made their first stops.
Nearing the halfway mark, DeFrancesco was in seventh place aboard the No.29 machine as he made his second stop.
The rookie continued to show good pace for the remainder of the 100 lap journey. The race was only interrupted by a single yellow flag period – the team ideally needing more full course yellows for their strategy to pay dividends.
DeFrancesco eventually crossed the finish line in 22nd place and remained just ahead of the leaders to stay on the lead lap.
His fastest race lap of 1 minute 1.904 seconds around the St. Petersburg street course was the 12th fastest lap out of the 26 car field.
DeFrancesco and Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport will now set their sights on the first oval race of the year at Texas Motor Speedway on March 20.
The No.29 Honda-powered INDYCAR of DeFrancesco is backed in 2022 by a trio of green technology brands. Joining PowerTap Hydrogen is long-time Andretti Steinbrenner partner, microturbine energy solutions provider Capstone Green Energy and clean technology company, Atmofizer.
Additional brands featuring on the car in 2022 include electric motorcycle pioneers Damon Motorcycles; software and services company Fyllo; Miami-based Sol Yoga; Clarus Securities, life sciences health and wellness company, Wesana Health along with green technologies investment company, The House of Lithium.
Major retail brands also showcased on the car, including Kimoa – the fashion, clothing, and accessories brand founded by Fernando Alonso; Seattle, WA-based Jones Soda Co. and returning Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport partner – small-batch and Austrian-distilled ultra-premium brand, NEFT Vodka.
“My overall speed seemed to be mega, but we took a chance on a three-stop strategy which didn’t pan in the end. I learned a lot today with pit stops and working my way through the traffic, but it was also very important to get a lot of race laps under my belt.
“I really enjoyed my first weekend with the Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport crew. I felt really comfortable in the car all weekend, and my engineers and my crew really made me feel right at home.
“I obviously would have loved to have finished further up the pack but I know our car had really good speed. That really gives me confidence for the rest of the season.
“I can’t wait to try the car at Texas for the first time. I really enjoy ovals but Texas will be a whole new experience for me.
“I’m just so thankful for this opportunity – my family, our team partners and the fans have been so supportive.”