Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg: Weekend Preview

By: Spencer Neff
March 3, 2023

Nearly six months of waiting will draw to a close this weekend as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns for 2023. For the 13th time in its 20-year history, the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will host the season opener.

Before the first on-track action in advance of Sunday’s 100-lap race, here’s a look at some of the preseason’s biggest news items.


Team Penske capped off a dominant year in style. A day after eclipsing Mario Andretti’s record of 67 career pole wins, Will Power finished third and earned his second championship, eight years after his first.

The Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia native kicks off his bid for a third championship at a venue where he’s been successful before.

In 14 starts, Power has earned nine pole positions and two victories (Power missed the 2016 race with a concussion after earning the pole position). His last win at the track was the season opener in 2014, the season of his first championship.

Power celebrates his championship following the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laqguna Seca (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

Power’s teammates, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin notched eight of the team’s nine victories in 2022 and the Penske trio. Penske also started on the pole for nine of 17 races, five of those by Power.

Last year, McLaughlin kicked off a breakout 2022 season by winning his first pole and race at St.Petersburg. McLaughlin would be the first driver to earn his first pole and in the same weekend since Roberto Moreno at Cleveland in 2000.

For 2023, McLaughlin, Newgarden and Power are three of the championship favorites, with several drivers looking to top them.

Once the dispute between he and Chip Ganassi Racing was settled, 2021 INDYCAR Champion Alex Palou returns to the No. 10.

Six-time series champion Scott Dixon and 2022 Indianapolis 500 presented By Gainbridge winner Marcus Ericsson also return. Filling the fourth spot, Marcus Armstrong makes his INDYCAR debut in the No. 11.

IndyCar’s 2023 Rookie class (from left to right) Agustin Canapin (Juncos Hollinger Racing, Benjamin Pedersen (A.J. Foyt Racing), Sting Ray Robb (Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing0 and Marcus Armstrong (Chip Ganassi Racing)-Image By James Black/INDYCAR

Armstrong will split the season with Takuma Sato, who will drive the entry in oval events while Armstrong competes in road and street course races.

Armstrong is one of four rookies. Joining the fight to be 2023’s best first-year driver will be Sting Ray Robb (Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing), Benjamin Pedersen (A.J. Foyt Racing) and Agustin Canapino (Juncos Hollinger Racing).

Headlining the “Faces in New Places” segment of the grid is 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who joines the No. 7 Arrow McLaren entry (Felix Rosenqvist moves to the No. 6 with the organization).

Filling Rossi’s seat with Andretti Autosport is Kyle Kirkwood, who moves on from A.J. Foyt Racing to reunite with a team that he won the 2021 Indy Lights (now INDY NXT) Championship.

(testing at Sebring) Rossi’s move to Arrow McLaren headline an eventful “Silly Season” for 2022-2023 (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Returning full-time to INDYCAR is Santino Ferrucci, who pilots the No. 14 with Foyt after spending the last two seasons in part-time and substitute roles.

Aside from Penske, only Ed Carpenter Racing (Rinus VeeKay, Conor Daly and Ed Carpenter) and Meyer Shank Racing (Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud) will enter 2023 with the same lineup as 2022.

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburgpresented by RP Funding Fast Facts 

Spotter Guide

Pit Assignments

Race weekend: Friday, March 3 – Sunday, March 5

The start of the 2022 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Track: Streets of St. Petersburg, 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit (clockwise) throughdowntown St. Petersburg, Florida, including a runway of Albert Whitted Airport

Race distance: 100 laps / 180 miles (NTT INDYCAR SERIES)

45 laps / 81 miles / 55 minutes(INDY NXT by Firestone)

Push-to-pass parameters: NTT INDYCAR SERIES: 150 seconds of total time with a maximumsingle duration of 15 seconds. The push-to-pass is not available on the initial start or any restartunless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race.

INDY NXT by Firestone: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation

Firestone tire allotment (NTT INDYCAR SERIES): Six primary sets, five alternate sets (teams must return a set of each before qualifying). One additional set of primary tires is available to rookie drivers for use in the Friday afternoon practice session.

Twitter: @GPSTPETE, @INDYCAR, @INDYNXT, #FirestoneGP, #INDYCARInstagram: @GPSTPETE, @INDYCAR, @INDYNXT #FirestoneGP, #INDYCAR, #INDYNXTFacebook: @GPSTPETE, @INDYCAR, @INDYNXT #FirestoneGP, #INDYCAR, #INDYNXTTikTok: @INDYCAR, @INDYNXT #FirestoneGP #INDYCAR, #INDYNXTYouTube: @INDYCAR, @greensavoreeracingpromotionsEvent website: http://www.gpstpete.comINDYCAR website:

2022 race winners:NTT INDYCAR SERIESScott McLaughlin (No. 3 DEX Imaging Team Penske Chevrolet)

INDY NXT by FirestoneMatthew Brabham (No. 83 Andretti Autosport)

2022 NTT P1 Award winner (NTT INDYCAR SERIES): Scott McLaughlin (No. 3 DEX Imaging Team Penske Chevrolet), 59.4821 seconds, 108.940 mph

Qualifying records:NTT INDYCAR SERIES-Will Power, 59.3466 seconds; 109.189 mph, Feb. 26, 2022 (set in Round 2 of qualifying)

INDY NXT by Firestone-David Malukas, 1 minute, 4.6491 seconds, 100.233 mph, April 23, 2021

NBC Sports telecast: Race, noon ET Sunday, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, alongside analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Marty Snider, Kevin Lee and Dave Burns are the pit reporters. Telemundo Deportes on Universo will provide a Spanish-language telecast.

Peacock Live Streaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions, qualifying and races as well as INDY NXT by Firestone races will stream live on Peacock, NBC’s direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the anchor alongside driver analyst Davey Hamilton. Nick Yeoman, Jake Query and Michael Young are the turn announcers. Ryan Myrehn, Alex Wollf and Georgia Henneberry are the pit reporters.

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race and all NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying sessions air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM INDYCAR Nation 160 and SiriusXM NBC Sports Audio 85, and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.

All INDY NXT by Firestone practice and qualifying sessions and races are available on, the INDYCAR App and SiriusXM 160.

At-track schedule (All Times Local/Eastern Time):

McLaughlin celebrates his first victory after last year’s race (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Friday, March 3

1:55-2:40 p.m. – INDY NXT by Firestone practice, INDYCAR LIVE

3-4:15 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, Peacock

Saturday, March 4

9-9:45 a.m. – INDY NXT by Firestone practice, INDYCAR LIVE

10-11 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice (Limited guarantee of 45 minutes of green flagtime), Peacock

1:35-1:55 p.m. – INDY NXT by Firestone qualifying (15-minute session or eight minutes of green condition, whichever comes first), INDYCAR LIVE

2:15-3:30 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock

Sunday, March 5

9-9:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, Peacock10 a.m. – INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (45 laps / 81 miles / 55 minutes), Peacock (Live)

Noon – NBC Sports on air

12:23 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”

12:30 p.m. – Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding (100 laps / 181 miles), NBC, Telemundo Deportes on Universo and Peacock (Live)

Header Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR, Fast Facts By INDYCAR


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s