Eighteen races over 15 event weekends highlight the 2014 IndyCar Series schedule, which kicks off with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 28-30.

It will be the 10th INDYCAR-sanctioned race on the scenic and challenging 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit that has a twist by incorporating a runway of Albert Whitted Airport. It's also the fourth consecutive year that the opener will be part of the "World's Fastest Spring Break Party." The event will be televised by ABC.

James Hinchcliffe of Andretti Autosport earned his maiden IndyCar Series victory last March at St. Pete -- one of four first-time winners during the season that was punctuated by 10 different race winners. Helio Castroneves, who has won the race three times, was runner-up and Marco Andretti completed the podium.

"Ten years of exciting auto racing and exhilarating race weekends is worth celebrating,” event president Tim Ramsberger said. “The event just keeps getting better and better. The support we’ve received from the community is tremendous and has allowed us to grow year after year. We look forward to writing a new page in this event's history and welcoming race fans from around the world to mark this milestone and showcase the best in racing for another year.”

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Other highlights of the 2014 season include weekend doubleheaders in Detroit (May 31-June 1), Houston (June 28-29) and Toronto (July 19-20); the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis (May 10) on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course; the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (May 25); the season finale at Auto Club Speedway (Aug. 30).

The races on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Auto Club Speedway ovals all are 500 miles.

IndyCar Series teams and manufacturers Chevrolet and Honda have scheduled several test sessions early in the new year, and the first Open Test is scheduled for March 17-18 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

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