Field set for IndyCar season-opener
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
|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|
|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|
|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|