This race, normally held mid-March but delayed by the pandemic's effects, is now the climax of the season, and two very familiar faces are battling for the championship.
Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda’s Scott Dixon will be aiming for his sixth crown, while reigning champ Josef Newgarden of Team Penske-Chevrolet is aiming for title No. 3.
When Dixon won the first three races of the season, his inconsistent and occasionally unlucky opposition were aghast. Just how many more could he win in the remaining rounds?
Well, he has added just one since then and in the last four races he has finished 10th-10th-9th-8th. Those results allowed Newgarden to slash into his lead, reducing it from 117 points to 32, heading into today’s finale. That said, even were the Penske driver to win today and get the bonus two points for leading the most laps, Dixon would only need to finish in the top nine to clinch the title.
However, just to spice the situation with some intrigue, both drivers felt they/their cars underperformed in qualifying, so that Newgarden will line up eighth on the grid, and Dixon 12th. Both have admitted they will be taking different approaches to the race and it’s worth noting that Newgarden is the defending race winner here, while Dixon has finished second four times but never reached victory lane.
Up front, Newgarden’s teammate Will Power took his fifth pole of the season, and his ninth in 11 years at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg’s 1.8-mile street-plus-runway course. To do that, he had to beat three cars from the resurgent Andretti Autosport-Honda team – Alexander Rossi, Colton Herta and James Hinchcliffe – while Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey (which has a technical partnership with the Andretti team) will line up fifth.
For a preview, and race facts, click here
Race: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Date: Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020
Start time: 2.32pm local/Eastern Time
Location: Downtown streets of St. Petersburg plus a runway at Albert Whitted Airport
What channel is the IndyCar race on today?
The race is being shown live on NBC, with coverage beginning at 2.30pm (ET) and the field due to get the green flag at 2.32pm.
In addition all IndyCar races air live on network affiliates, Sirius 211, XM 205, indycar.com, indycarradio.com and the IndyCar Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. All practice and qualifying sessions are available on indycar.com, indycarradio.com and the IndyCar Mobile app with qualifying also airing on XM 205.
How the grid lines up for the Firestone GP of St. Pete:
Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport
Arrow McLaren SP
Arrow McLaren SP
Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh
Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan
Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco & Curb-Agajani