With the weather cooling across U.S., fans of the NTT IndyCar Series are turning their attention toward the start of the 2020 season. With the first race in St. Petersburg, Fla., that means a chance to see the sun and the speed of the cars. Spend the next few minutes remembering all that's good about the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Key information: The 16th event for Indy cars along Tampa Bay's western shore will be the NTT IndyCar Series’ season-opening event for the 10th consecutive year. Cars will be on track March 13-15, 2020.
The temporary street circuit: 14 turns, 1.8 miles.
Tickets on sale: Three-day tickets can now be purchased online at http://www.gpstpete.com/tickets/pricing or by phone at 1-888-476-4479.
Did you know? This year, Team Penske's Josef Newgarden became only the fifth driver to win the St. Pete race and finish that season as the series champion. The others: Paul Tracy in 2003, Dan Wheldon in 2005, Dario Franchitti in 2011 and Will Power in 2014.
Penske dominance: Roger Penske's organization has won the St. Pete event a record nine times. Helio Castroneves has won three times, Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power twice, and Ryan Briscoe and Newgarden once. Briscoe's victory in 2009 stands as the closest 1-2 finish in event history (0.4619 seconds over Ryan Hunter-Reay, who then drove for Vision Racing). Power has won a record eight poles for the team at this venue, including last year. In one stretch he won seven poles in eight years (2010-17).
Feat, repeat: Newgarden would be a good choice when picking a 2020 winner as three drivers have won back-to-back St. Pete races, including the past two who had opportunities to do so. The repeaters: Castroneves (2006-07), Montoya (2015-16) and Sebastien Bourdais (2017-18).
Never once for Dixon: Difficult as it is to believe, Scott Dixon has never won the St. Pete race, although the Ganassi Racing driver third on the sport's all-time wins list has finished second on four occasions, including last year.
INDYCAR’s first sweep: The first Indy car street race was sanctioned by Champ Car in 2003. Paul Tracy won, with Michel Jourdain Jr. and Bruno Junqueira joining him on the podium. This era of the event started in 2005, a race that saw Michael Andretti’s team -- then known as Andretti Green Racing -- score the only top-four sweep by a single team in Indy car history. The top four finishers (pictured here): Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta.
Watch that sweep: Click here to bring back those 2005 memories. Wheldon led only the final 10 laps, but it was part of a start to the season that saw him win four times in five races.
About management: The event is owned and promoted by Green Savoree Racing Promotions, an Indianapolis-based motorsports event management company owned by Kim Green and Kevin Savoree. The two men were team principals in winning four NTT IndyCar Series championships and three Indianapolis 500s. Kim Green is the brother of Barry Green, another former Indy car team owner. Green Savoree Racing Promotions also owns and promotes the Honda Indy Toronto, the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the Grand Prix of Portland. It also owns and manages the Mid-Ohio circuit.
2003 (CART): Paul Tracy
2005 (IRL): Dan Wheldon
2006 (IRL): Helio Castroneves
2007 (IRL): Helio Castroneves
2008 (IRL): Graham Rahal
2009 (INDYCAR): Ryan Briscoe
2010 (INDYCAR): Will Power
2011 (INDYCAR): Dario Franchitti
2012 (INDYCAR): Helio Castroneves
2013 (INDYCAR): James Hinchcliffe
2014 (INDYCAR): Will Power
2015 (INDYCAR): Juan Pablo Montoya
2016 (INDYCAR): Juan Pablo Montoya
2017 (INDYCAR): Sebastien Bourdais
2018 (INDYCAR): Sebastien Bourdais
2019 (INDYCAR): Josef Newgarden