Mar 19, 2013, 7:00 PM EDT
The IZOD IndyCar Series returns to its usual season-opening stop this weekend for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, a 110-lap event on a 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit that features an airport runway for a front-stretch and a dog-leg backstretch along the Tampa Bay waterfront.
Those two areas set up the circuit’s main passing zones. The wide runway of Albert Whitted Airport leads into Turn 1, a right-hander that has provided plenty of mayhem over the years. It’s also where Helio Castroneves pulled off what would prove to be the winning pass last year at St. Petersburg on Scott Dixon.
As for the backstretch (Bayshore Boulevard), it leads into a sharp left-hander at Turn 10/Dan Wheldon Way that forces drivers to really hit their marks, especially when they’re in the middle of outbraking rivals. After barreling down Bayshore, the drivers’ maneuvering for position in this tricky corner makes for great action, both on television and for those sitting in the nearby grandstand.
Another interesting wrinkle for 2013 is the addition of 10 extra laps at St. Pete, which is one of four IndyCar tracks (the others being Long Beach, Milwaukee and Mid-Ohio) that had their race distances extended by the series in an attempt to cut down on fuel-mileage racing.
You can learn more details about the St. Pete street circuit in the “virtual lap” video above.
- Ricciardo aware of Vergne challenge for Red Bull seat (4)
- Report: IndyCar Series may return to Road America in 2014 (4)
- Social media a boon to F1, NASCAR — but IndyCar lags (4)
- Ecclestone: Mercedes should have declined, and Michelin’s not returning (3)
- Lotus concerned by tire choices for Britain, Hungary (3)
- Blackhawks win OT thriller
- PFT: Report: Hernandez accused of prior shooting
- CSN: Report: Hernandez 'not ruled out' as suspect
- PBT: Celts, Clips restart Doc, KG trade talks
- Posnanski: How Heat won a game of mistakes
- GTC: Tiger pulls out of AT&T citing elbow issue
- HBT: Biogenesis suspensions still likely coming
- Play Video: Hunter-Reay celebrates win in Milwaukee
- Play Video: Highlights: Hunter-Reay wins Milwaukee Mile again
- Play Video: Andretti Autosports dominates
- Play Video: Andretti makes it look easy in Milwaukee
- Play Video: Indy Car Series: Fast forward Texas
- Play Video: A recap of Pagenaud's first career IndyCar victory