2023 IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Preview, how to watch, start times, TV, schedules, streaming

by Christina S. Brown
0 comment

2023 IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Sunday in St. Petersburg, Florida, with a full program and grid for the first race of the season.

There are 27 cars entered, breaking the previous mark of 26 set in St. Pete in 2012, 2008, and last year. It’s the biggest season-opening group since 2001. (when the Indy Racing League had 27 at Phoenix, and CART had 28 at Monterrey, Mexico).

This season, both Arrow McLaren and Juncos Hollinger Racing have acquired full-time cars, with Alexander Rossi switching from Andretti Autosport to the former team.

Scott McLaughlin, the reigning champion, will compete in St. Petersburg. (his inaugural career victory was the first of three in his second IndyCar season last year). Simon Pagenaud of Meyer Shank Racing will make his 200th start on Sunday, moving him into a tie for 27th place all-time with Raul Boesel.

Scott Dixon, a six-time series winner, will make his 369th start (tying A.J. Foyt for fourth all-time) in an attempt to claim his first victory at St. Pete. (where he has four runner-up finishes).

Along with Canapino, other drivers making their IndyCar starts on Sunday include Marcus Armstrong, Benjamin Pedersen, and Sting Ray Robb.

How to watch IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg 2023 Live:

Viewers around the world can watch the action live on the following channels and here for free:

IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg 2023 Start Time:

The IndyCar season opener starts at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday in St. Petersburg, Florida.

What TV channel is the race on?

NBC is broadcasting the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and has a pre-race show beginning at Noon ET.

IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg 2023 Preview:

Happy to be returning.

After 175 tortuous days, two closed-door preseason tests, and one CW documentary series entering production, the NTT IndyCar Series finally drops the green flag on the 2023 season when America’s premier open-wheel series attacks the streets (and runways) of the Sunshine State’s fifth-most populous city in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (March 5).

The 1.8-mile, 14-turn layout was the first non-oval track visited by what was then the Indy Racing League when the series made its St. Pete debut in 2005, but the first IndyCar race of any type at the track came two years earlier when Paul Tracy won the one and only CART event held in St. Pete for Forsythe Racing.

A track of extremes is the setting for the 100 laps (180 miles) that make up the Firestone Grand Prix. Before the final corners open up onto the wide, smooth runway of Albert Whitted Airport, which acts as the front stretch, drivers are taken on a tour of downtown St. Pete by way of the layout’s tight, bumpy back half, which includes driving alongside the marina on Bayshore Drive.

Read More: 2023 UCI Cycling World Tour – Strade Bianche 2023: Start list information, prediction, Odds, free live stream

Keep a watch on the first turn, as this is where the weekend’s most action will likely occur. Not only does the double-apex right-hand hairpin at the end of the runway serve as the prime passing opportunity on the track, the combination of wide entry and narrow exit (with a treacherous tire barrier) means it has also seen more than its fair share of pileups, particularly on starts and restarts.

Adding to the cauldron of chaos, the white-painted runway markings are much slipperier than the surrounding asphalt, meaning that drivers who attempt to make an inside move are at a much, much higher risk of locking up or overshooting the corner, as Alexander Rossi did on a late-race restart in 2018. Rossi’s mistake ended the possibility of a Cinderella tale for Canadian rookie Robert Wickens and gave Sebastien Bourdais the opportunity to advance and win the final race of his IndyCar Series career.

Due to COVID-19 delays, St. Petersburg—typically the season’s first game—was played as the season’s conclusion in 2020. Despite a strong showing from Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon’s title opponent, to win the championship for the sixth time in that race.

The Iceman finished third after a late-race charge, earning him his sixth podium at St. Pete, the most of any current driver without a victory.