Sunday, March 24, 2013

Morning Warm-Up: St. Petersburg 2013

Will Power scored his 29th career pole position (30th if you count his pole in the non-championship round of Surfers Paradise 2008) on Saturday as he will lead the field to the green flag for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Takuma Sato was the surprise of the day when he got his Foyt Honda all the way to the Firestone Fast Six and on to the front row for today's race. The best story of the weekend so far has been Simona de Silvestro who will start in third position in her first race with Chevrolet and first race with KV Racing Technology. James Hinchcliffe and Helio Castroneves start fourth and fifth respectively with rookie Tristan Vautier starting sixth on his debut.

Defending champion Ryan Hunter-Reay will start eighth after just missing the Fast Six in qualifying with another surprise of qualifying, Sebastián Saavedra starting a career high ninth, ahead of Dario Franchitti, who starts tenth.

The first race weekend of the 2013 season has seen many notable names unusually at the bottom of the time sheets. Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon will make up row ten after both drivers failed to make it out of the first round of qualifying. Sébastien Bourdais finds himself down in 21st position after finishing second to last in group 1, round 1 of qualifying.

With five different teams represented in the top six and four of those drivers looking for their first career win, below is a list of amount of races since the last win for each of the 15 Izod IndyCar Series teams taking part at St. Pete this weekend:

Ed Carpener Racing: 0 (Fontana 2012).
Andretti Autosport: 1 (Baltimore 2012).
Penske Racing: 2 (Sonoma 2012).
Ganassi Racing: 3 (Mid-Ohio 2012).
Dale Coyne Racing: 8 (Texas 2012).
Sarah Fisher Racing: 15 (Kentucky 2011).
Bryan Herta Autosport: 27 (Indianapolis 2011).
Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan Racing: 73 (Watkins Glen 2008).
KV Racing Technology: 80 (Long Beach 2008).
HVM Racing*: 88** (San José 2007).
Panther Racing: 125*** (Texas 2005).
AJ Foyt Racing: 169**** (Kansas 2002).
Dreyer & Reinbold: 199***** (Orlando 2000).

Teams yet to win a race: Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing and Dragon Racing.

*-EJ Viso's entry for St. Petersburg is technically an HVM car, run in partnership with Andretti Autosport.
**-Last win was when the team was known as Minardi Team USA. ChampCar 2007, IndyCar 2008-present.
***-IRL 2005-2007, IndyCar 2008-present.
****- IRL 2002-2007, IndyCar 2008-present.
*****-IRL 2000-2007, IndyCar 2008-present.

Forecast for today's race is calling for mostly sunny conditions with the temperature at 73 degrees Fahrenheit. However chances of isolated thunderstorms are at 30% during the time of the race. NBC Sports Network begins their coverage with yesterday's Indy Lights race at 11 AM, IndyCar pre-race at noon and green flag around 12:40 PM.