The 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES kicks off this weekend on the beautiful sun-drenched streets of St. Petersburg. We at Sports Talk Florida is happy and proud to be the radio partner of The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and we are looking at what should be a wonderful weekend.
WWBA 820 AM in the Bay area or on the TuneIn app anywhere in the world, so take us with you in your pocket on your smartphone – listen by clicking here. Pennzoil INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Jake Query and Nick Yeoman are the turn announcers with Dave Furst, Rob Howden and Michael Young reporting from the pits. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
At-track schedule (All Times Local/Eastern Time):
10:45 – 11:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice #1, NBC Sports Gold
3 – 3:45 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice #2, NBC Sports Gold
10:45 – 11:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice #3, NBC Sports Gold
2:40 p.m. – Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Qualifying (Three rounds of knockout qualifications), NBC Sports Gold (live) and NBCSN (taped delayed until 10 p.m.
10:25 – 10:55 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Warm-Up, NBC Sports Gold
2:30 p.m. – NBCSN pre-race show begins
3:23 p.m. – Command
3:30 p.m. – Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg green flag (100 laps/180 miles), NBCSN (live)
- This will mark the 10th consecutive year that the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg has served as INDYCAR’s season-opening race. Dario Franchitti won the inaugural season opener at St. Pete in 2011. This will be the 17th race overall, dating to Paul Tracy winning the CART-sanctioned race in 2003.
- The St. Petersburg INDYCAR race has been run every year since 2003 except for 2004. No driver has competed in every St. Petersburg race, but Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan have started 15 consecutive races. Only Dixon is entered this year. Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Hunter-Reay competed in the first race in 2003.
- Kanaan’s all-time record streak of 317 consecutive race starts will end this weekend. The streak began in June 2001 at Portland. Dixon has made 258 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the second-longest streak and now will become tops among active streaks.. Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti has made 234 consecutive starts, which is the third-longest streak all time and now will move to second among active streaks..
- Dixon seeks his first win on the streets of St. Petersburg. Dixon’s five NTT INDYCAR SERIES championships trail only the seven titles collected by A.J. Foyt. Dixon is third on the all-time Indy car victory list with 46, but has never won at St. Petersburg. He has four runner-up finishes at the circuit, including last season.
- Will Power (2010,’14) and Bourdais (2017, ’18) are the only entered drivers to win at St. Petersburg more than once. Helio Castroneves won three times (2006, ’07, ’12), while Juan Pablo Montoya won in 2015 and ’16. Past winners Graham Rahal (2008) and Newgarden (2019) are also entered.
- Team Penske has won the pole position nine of the past 13 St. Petersburg races, including eight of the last 10 poles by Power. Past pole winners Bourdais (2003), Rahal (2009) and Takuma Sato (2014) are also entered this weekend.
- Two drivers have won the race from the pole – Castroneves (2007) and Power (2010). The St. Petersburg winner has qualified fourth in four of the last seven seasons.
- Team Penske has won at St. Petersburg nine times, including five of the last eight races with Castroneves (2012), Power (2014), Montoya (2015-16) and Newgarden (2019).
- Five rookies are entered and three – Oliver Askew, Felipe Nasr, Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay — will make their first NTT INDYCAR SERIES start this weekend at St. Petersburg. The other Rookie of the Year candidate entered is Ben Hanley.
- Since 2012, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES has averaged nine different race winners per season, including a record-tying 11 winners in 2014. There were seven different winners in the 17 races of 2019.