Field set for IndyCar season-opener

Dan Herrero

Thursday 8th March, 2018 - 11:58am

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Will Power during pre-season testing at Sonoma

A 24-car field will take to the streets of St Petersburg for this weekend’s IndyCar season-opener, including Will Power with a new strategist in Roger Penske.

The 22 full-time entries will be bolstered by the addition of Juncos Racing’s Rene Binder and Michael Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey, both of whom will run partial campaigns in 2018.

Power will have legendary team owner Penske calling his strategy after Helio Castroneves’ move to Team Penske’s new IMSA program.

‘The Captain’ will be his third strategist in as many years, with Jon ‘Myron’ Bouslog having replaced Tim Cindric when the team president moved to Josef Newgarden’s car at the start of 2017.

Power will, however, continue to be engineered by David Faustino.

“You get used to your guy, right?” the Queenslander told IndyCar.com.

“There’s always a bit of that. I always have Dave on the stand, but I’ll have to get used to how Roger says things and such.

“But that’s just normal. He’s pretty good on the radio. He gives you the information you need.”

The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series also marks the introduction of the new universal aerokit, with its streamlined design producing around 30 percent less downforce than the manufacturers’ own versions which had been used since 2015.

“When you’re following, you hardly feel any turbulence,” said Power of the aerokit.

“There’s no question that from that perspective, it will be a lot better.

“It will be a year of really being on top of it. It won’t be fine-tuning, honestly. At a lot of these tracks, we’ll be trying to find what works and going with it.”

CLICK HERE for more from US motorsport journalist Marshall Pruett on the new aerokit.

The Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg begins with practice on Friday (local time), followed by qualifying on Saturday and the 110-lap race on Sunday.

Entry list: St Petersburg

Num Driver Nat Engine Team
1 Josef Newgarden USA Chevrolet Team Penske
4 Matheus ‘Matt’ Leist (R) BRA Chevrolet AJ Foyt Racing
5 James Hinchcliffe CAN Honda Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
6 Robert Wickens (R) CAN Honda Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
9 Scott Dixon NZL Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
10 Ed Jones GBR Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
12 Will Power AUS Chevrolet Team Penske
14 Tony Kanaan BRA Chevrolet AJ Foyt Racing
15 Graham Rahal USA Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
18 Sebastien Bourdais FRA Honda Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan
19 Zachary Claman DeMelo (R) CAN Honda Dale Coyne Racing
20 Jordan King (R) GBR Chevrolet Ed Carpenter Racing
21 Spencer Pigot USA Chevrolet Ed Carpenter Racing
22 Simon Pagenaud FRA Chevrolet Team Penske
23 Charlie Kimball USA Chevrolet Carlin
26 Zach Veach (R) USA Honda Andretti Autosport
27 Alexander Rossi USA Honda Andretti Autosport
28 Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Honda Andretti Autosport
30 Takuma Sato JPN Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
32 Rene Binder (R) AUT Chevrolet Juncos Racing
59 Max Chilton GBR Chevrolet Carlin
60 Jack Harvey (R) GBR Honda Michael Shank Racing w/ Schmidt Peterson
88 Gabby Chaves COL Chevrolet Harding Racing
98 Marco Andretti USA Honda Andretti Herta Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian

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