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2017 Point Standings
After Texas
Rank Driver Points

1 Scott Dixon 326
2 Simon Pagenaud 313
3 Takuma Sato 312
4 Helio Castroneves 305
5 Will Power 286
6 Graham Rahal 283
7 Josef Newgarden 277
8 Tony Kanaan 264
9 Alexander Rossi 254
10 James Hinchcliffe 232
11 Max Chilton 229
12 Ed Jones 228
13 Marco Andretti 210
14 Ryan Hunter-Reay 194
15 Mikhail Aleshin 192
16 JR Hildebrand 191
17 Carlos Munoz 180
18 Charlie Kimball 143
19 Conor Daly 140
20 Sebastien Bourdais 136
21 Ed Carpenter 124
22 Spencer Pigot 124
23 Juan Pablo Montoya 93
25 Gabby Chaves 83
26 Oriol Servia 61
27 Fernando Alonso 47
28 Sebastian Saavedra 33
30 Pippa Mann 32
31 Esteban Gutierrez 27
32 Jay Howard 24
33 Zach Veach 23
34 Sage Karam 23
37 James Davison 21
38 Jack Harvey 17
39 Tristan Vautier 15
42 Buddy Lazier 14

Rookie of Year Standings
1. Ed Jones 228
2. Fernando Alonso 47
3. Zach Veach 23
4. Jack Harvey 17
5. Esteban Gutierrez 11
St. Pete Preview

by Brian Carroccio
Friday, March 28, 2014

Advertisement

Canadian James Hinchcliffe celebrates his first career victory last season at St. Pete.
For this upcoming season, AutoRacing1.com columnist Brian Carroccio will preview all Formula 1 and IndyCar races. Below, is Brian's preview of this weekend's Verizon IndyCar Series season opener, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Enjoy!

Who runs well at St. Pete?

There have been eight winners in the 10 previous St. Pete races. Five of those winners are scheduled to compete this weekend:

Helio Castroneves (2006, 2007, 2012)
Graham Rahal (2008)
Ryan Briscoe (2009)
Will Power (2010)
James Hinchcliffe (2013)

Paul Tracy (2003), Dan Wheldon (2005) and Dario Franchitti (2011) are the three other winners.

Castroneves has two second place finishes and one pole position in addition to his three victories. Power finished second in 2011 and is the all-time leader with four pole positions. Briscoe finished third in 2010. Rahal won pole for the 2009 race.

Although, he’s never won, Tony Kanaan has five podium finishes at St. Pete, 7 top-5s and won pole position for the 2008 race. Scott Dixon has finished second three times, while Ryan Hunter-Reay and Justin Wilson each have a second and third-place finish at the track. The only other driver in the field to have recorded a podium finish at the track is Marco Andretti, who finished third last season. Sebastien Bourdais won pole for the inaugural event in 2003.
Dixon and Kanaan are the all-time leaders in starts at St. Pete with 9.

What about teams?

The usual suspects. Team Penske is the all-time leader with five victories. Andretti Autosport has won twice, while Ganassi, Newman/Haas and Forsythe have each won once.

Also, the teams mentioned above account for all but 5 of the 30 podium finishers in the ten races. Rahal Letterman Lanigan, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Dale Coyne Racing, KV Racing Technology, and Vision Racing are the only other teams to have recorded podium finishes.

Are there any drivers with a particularly unexceptional record at St. Pete?

Yes.

Charlie Kimball, and Sebastien Bourdais have each made three starts at St. Pete. Kimball has a best finish of ninth, Bourdais 11th.

But the award for least impressive finishing record of those competing this weekend, at St. Pete goes to one Mike Conway. Conway has a best finish of 19th in 4 career starts.

Who will be making their St. Pete debuts?

Rookies Mikhail Aleshin and Jack Hawksworth will be making their series debuts, while fellow rookie Carlos Munoz started three races last season. Juan Pablo Montoya will be making his first IndyCar start since 2000, and his St. Pete debut.

How important is qualifying at St. Pete?

Judging by prior results: pretty important.

While only Power and Castroneves have won from pole, eight of the 10 race winners have started in the top-5. Only Rahal and Wheldon, who both started ninth, have won from outside the top-5.

Who will be making their St. Pete debut?

Four drivers: Rookies Mikhail Aleshin, Jack Hawksworth and Carlos Munoz, and Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya, who will make his first Indy car start in 14 years this weekend.

Other than those already mentioned, is there anyone with a particularly strong qualifying record at St. Pete?

Not particularly. Takuma Sato started second last year, before finishing eighth, but that that was Sato’s first top-10 start at St. Pete.

Who are the favorites headed into the weekend?

Castroneves has a sterling record at St. Pete, and seems to be a factor every year. While Kanaan and Dixon have never won, they almost always seem to run near the front. Ultimately, however, I think the favorite has to be Power.

The Aussie has won pole for the past four St. Pete races. This weekend, he parlays the momentum from a strong finish to 2013, and firmly establishes himself as the man to beat for the title in 2014.

Brian Carroccio is a columnist for AutoRacing1.com. He can be contacted at BrianC@AutoRacing1.com.

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