IndyCar Series

IZOD IndyCar Series - Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Preview

From The Sports Network

DATE: Sunday, March 25th
SITE: Streets of St. Petersburg (2005) -- St. Petersburg, Florida
TRACK: 1.806-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit
ANNOUNCERS: Marty Reid, Scott Goodyear, Eddie Cheever
RADIO: IMS Radio Network
START TIME: 12:30 p.m. (et)
RUNNER-UP: Will Power
POLE WINNER: Will Power (Finished 2nd)
LAPS: 100
MILES: 180.60
QUALIFYING RECORD: Will Power, 2010 (105.190 m.p.h.)
RACE RECORD: Helio Castroneves, 2006 (92.340 m.p.h.)
2011 Finish
1Dario Franchitti26Alex Tagliani10
2Will Power17Raphael Matos16
3Tony Kanaan88Vitor Meira13
4Simona de Silvestro179Oriol Servia15
5Takuma Sato1110Justin Wilson6
2011 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Facts and Figures
AVERAGE SPEED: 89.260 m.p.h.
TIME OF RACE: 2 hours, 59.6886 seconds
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 7.1612 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 5 for 13 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 3 among 2 drivers
POLE WINNER: Will Power (104.579 m.p.h.)
FASTEST LAP: Helio Castroneves, 101.459 m.p.h., Lap 74
Past Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Winners (Starting Position) Car -- Speed
2011 -- Dario Franchitti (2nd) -- Dallara-Honda -- 89.260 m.p.h.
2010 -- Will Power (1st) -- Dallara-Honda -- 84.975 m.p.h.
2009 -- Ryan Briscoe (4th) -- Dallara-Honda -- 81.542 m.p.h.
2008 -- Graham Rahal (9th) -- Dallara-Honda -- 74.251 m.p.h.
2007 -- Helio Castroneves (1st) -- Dallara-Honda -- 89.166 m.p.h.
2006 -- Helio Castroneves (5th) -- Dallara-Honda -- 92.340 m.p.h. (record)
2005 -- Dan Wheldon (9th) -- Dallara-Honda -- 83.140 m.p.h.
Past Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Pole Winners (Finish)
2011 -- Will Power -- 2nd
2010 -- Will Power -- 1st
2009 -- Graham Rahal -- 7th
2008 -- Tony Kanaan -- 3rd
2007 -- Helio Castroneves -- 1st
2006 -- Dario Franchitti -- 19th
2005 -- Bryan Herta -- 4th
Last Race Results
RACE: Kentucky Indy 300 (October 2nd)
SITE: Kentucky Speedway -- Sparta, Kentucky
MILES: 300
LAPS: 200
WINNER: Ed Carpenter
RUNNER-UP: Dario Franchitti
THIRD: Scott Dixon
FOURTH: James Hinchcliffe
FIFTH: Ryan Hunter-Reay
POLE WINNER: Will Power (Finished 19th)
TIME OF RACE: 1 hour, 42 minutes, 2.7825 seconds
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.0098 second
AVERAGE SPEED: 174.039 m.p.h.
CAUTION FLAGS: 3 for 32 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 7 among 4 drivers
LAP LEADERS: Will Power 1-48; J.R. Hildebrand 49; Dario Franchitti 50-187; Ed
Carpenter 188; Franchitti 189-190; Carpenter 191-192; Franchitti
193-195; Carpenter 196-200.
Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Entry List
CarDriver, HometownCar/Name
2Ryan Briscoe (Sydney, Australia)IZOD/Team Penske
3Helio Castroneves (Sao Paulo, Brz)Shell V-Power/Team Penske
4J.R. Hildebrand (Sausalito, CA)U.S. National Guard/Panther Racing
5E.J. Viso (Caracas, Venezuela)Citgo/KV Racing Technology
6Katherine Legg (Guildford, England)Lotus Cars/Truecar/Lotus-Dragon Rac.
7Sebastien Bourdais (Le Mans,France)Lotus Cars/Lotus-Dragon Racing
8Rubens Barrichello (Sao Paulo, Brz)Brasil Maquinas/KV Racing Technology
9Scott Dixon (Auckland, New Zealand)Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
10 *Dario Franchitti (Scotland)Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
11Tony Kanaan (Salvador, Brazil)GEICO/KV Racing Technology
12Will Power (Toowoomba, Australia)Verizon Wireless/Team Penske
14Mike Conway (Bromley, England)ABC Supply Co./AJ Foyt Enterprises
15Takuma Sato (Tokyo, Japan)Interush/Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan Rac
18Justin Wilson (Sheffield, England)Sonny's Bar B-Q/Dale Coyne Racing
19Jamie Jakes (Leeds, England)Acorn Stairlifts/Dale Coyne Racing
20Ed Carpenter (Indianapolis, IN)Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing
22Oriol Servia (Pals, Spain)Lotus Cars/Lotus-Dreyer & Reinbold
26Marco Andretti (Nazareth, PA)Royal Crown Cola/Andretti Autosport
27James Hinchcliffe (Toronto, Canada) Autosport
28Ryan Hunter-Reay (Boca Raton, FL)DHL/Sun Drop/Andretti Autosport
38Graham Rahal (New Albany, OH)TBC Retail Group/Chip Ganassi Racing
67Josef Newgarden (Nashville, TN)Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
77Simon Pagenaud (Poitiers, France)Hewlett-Packard/Schmidt Hamilton
78Simona de Silvestro (Switzerland)Entergy/Lotus Cars/Lotus-HVM Racing
83Charlie Kimball (Camarillo, CA)Novo Nordisk/Chip Ganassi Racing
98Alex Tagliani (Lachenaie, Canada)Lotus Cars/Team Barracuda-BHA
* - defending champion.
Leading Contenders (Finish the last seven years)
Dario Franchitti3rd19th5th---4th5thWon
Will Power---------8th6thWon2nd
Tony Kanaan2nd3rd3rd3rd5th10th3rd
Simona de Silvestro---------------16th4th
Takuma Sato---------------22nd5th
Alex Tagliani------------10th6th6th
Oriol Servia---------7th------9th
J.R. Hildebrand------------------11th
Scott Dixon6th2nd2nd22nd16th18th16th
Graham Rahal---------Won7th9th17th
Ryan Briscoe14th------23rdWon3rd18th
Helio Castroneves20thWonWon2nd---4th20th
Ryan Hunter-Reay------17th---2nd11th21st
Marco Andretti---15th4th25th13th12th24th
James Hinchcliffe---------------------
Rubens Barrichello---------------------
Sports Network Selections
Pick to Win - Will Power
Darkhorse - Oriol Servia
Last Week's Pick to Win (October 2 - Scott Dixon) - Finished 3rd
Last Week's Darkhorse (October 2 - Danica Patrick) - Finished 10th
Dario Franchitti begins his title defense this week in Florida, as the 2012 IndyCar season starts in St. Petersburg.

Last season, Franchitti captured this race, one of four 2011 titles to garner his third straight IndyCar title and fourth overall, as he outdistanced Will Power by 18 points. Franchitti ranks second on the all-time wins list with 20, just six shy of Scott Dixon.

Franchitti showed he was the man to beat for the start after leading 94 of 100 laps on the 1.8-mile street circuit on St. Petersburg. It was his first win in six attempts here, but his fifth top-5.

He passed Power, the pole sitter, just after the first restart on the fifth lap and took command from there. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver only relinquished the top position during a late-race round of pit stops. He finished 7.2 seconds ahead of Power from Team Penske.

In 2010, Power started first and ended first, as he captured the checkered flag for the first time in St. Pete. Power, who had won the 2010 season-opener two weeks prior in Brazil, put on a dominating performance in the second-half of the 100-lap event on the St. Petersburg street circuit. The Team Penske driver took the lead for the final time when he passed E.J. Viso after Viso suffered a gear box issue with 23 laps remaining.

With the win, Power became the first driver to win the first two IndyCar races of the season since Sam Hornish Jr. accomplished the feat in 2001. Hornish won his first of three series titles that year.

Ryan Briscoe passed Justin Wilson with 13 laps remaining and never looked back en route to capturing the inaugural race of the 2009 IndyCar Series on the streets of St. Petersburg. The No. 6 Team Penske driver crossed the finish line 0.4619 of a second ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay for his third career IndyCar title.

2009 marked the first time in the history of the series that the opening race had been held on a street course. It was also the first time that the inaugural race of the season was on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Not only did Graham Rahal become the youngest driver to win an IndyCar event, he also captured the 2008 race in his first start in the Series. At the age of 19, Rahal crossed the finish line 3.5192 seconds ahead of two-time defending champion Helio Castroneves. The key to winning the race was the decision by his pit crew to stay out on lap 56 when everyone else pitted for fuel. Rahal got around Ryan Hunter Reay (the only other car to stay out) on lap 65 and had enough fuel to make it to the checkered flag. With the win, he also is the first driver since Scott Dixon, to go to victory lane in his very first IRL start.

In 2007, Helio Castroneves captured this race for the second consecutive year, as he edged Scott Dixon by less than a second for his 12th career IndyCar title. Dixon, who finished runner-up for the second straight season, lost by 0.6007 of a second. The win by Castroneves was his only victory in 2007. His win total now stands at 19.

Castroneves crossed the finish line ahead of Dixon while under caution for his then eighth career IndyCar title in 2006 and first of that season. Pole sitter Dario Franchitti failed to finish the race due to wheel bearing issues and finished last after leading the first 14 laps. Castroneves battled Dixon down the stretch, recapturing the lead on lap 96 of the 100-lap race. Just one lap later, Tomas Scheckter and Buddy Rice collided and the caution came out, however the crash was too much to clean up in time and Castroneves took the checkered flag.

The streets of St. Petersburg have hosted open-wheel racing since 2003 and has made a seamless transition from Champ Car to IndyCar Series event, beginning in 2005. Much like temporary courses in Cleveland and Edmonton, St. Petersburg uses portions of an airport for its race surface, as the runways at Albert Whitted Airport provide high-speed entries into tight passing opportunities in the Firestone Curve at Turn 1. Unlike Cleveland and Edmonton, St. Pete actually uses public street courses for the track as well as the 1.806-mile course meanders along the Bayfront and near Progress Energy Park, the home of the North American Soccer League's FC Tampa Bay.

Starting in the ninth position in 2005, the late Dan Wheldon trailed throughout the race and briefly held the lead for lap 62 of the 100-lap event. Pole sitter Bryan Herta, led for 39 laps, including the opening 16 and Ryan Briscoe, who led a race-high 43 laps, held the top spot on laps 80-91. Wheldon took control on lap 92 and held on the rest of the way, as he edged Tony Kanaan by less than two seconds to capture the inaugural race. Herta finished fourth while Briscoe placed 14th after suffering an accident on lap 91. Twelve of the 21 cars were still running at the end of the race with eight on the lead lap.

"Dancing with the Stars" contestants Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya will serve as grand marshals, while Clay Aiken and Aubrey O'Day will sing the national anthem.

The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues with the April 1 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. Will Power won last year's race there.

03/20 14:08:02 ET

As of March 20, 2012, at 02:08 PM ET

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