When the Verizon IndyCar Series takes to the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, for the opening practice session of the 2018 season, a full field of the new race cars will be on display.
You’ll have to excuse Jay Frye if he walks around the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg paddock and pit lane with a sense of accomplishment.
CLICK IT: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg entry list
“We have four new teams and owners joining the field for the Verizon IndyCar Series at St. Pete and those four teams are fielding three full-time cars and two cars running anywhere from four to eight races this year,” said Frye, INDYCAR’s president of competition and operations.
The St. Petersburg field features 24 entries in all. Among them are seven drivers who have won Indy car championships, 13 Indy car race winners and seven 2018 Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates, including four drivers who will make their series debut.
But more important to Frye are the four new entrants that have committed to helping grow the sport. The teams are Carlin, Harding Racing, Juncos Racing and Michael Shank Racing with Schmidt Peterson.
“Seeing the results of all the hard work that these owners have done to get here is really exciting and their role in the growth of the series is something to be proud of,” Frye said. “Michael Shank, Ricardo Juncos, Trevor Carlin and Mike Harding are part of the future of the sport and we’re happy to have them.”
Practice on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit that encompasses city streets and a runway of adjacent Albert Whitted Airport begins at 11:20 a.m. ET Friday, with another slated for 3:10 p.m. A third practice is set for 11:10 a.m. Saturday, ahead of Verizon P1 Award knockout qualifying at 2:20 p.m. All of those sessions will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com and will be available on the INDYCAR Mobile app.
Live coverage of the 110-lap race on Sunday starts at 12:30 p.m. ET on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.