INDYCAR Pre Race Media: Favorites/race preview for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete (12 p.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network)

TRACK: Streets of St. Pete (1.8-mile, 14-turn street course), DISTANCE: 100 Laps (181 Miles)

Favorites ā€“ Can Newgarden 3 peat?

Josef Newgarden 

He started his St. Pete career 0-for-7 not just in terms of victories, but top fives too. He’s since won the last two years.

Simon Pagenaud

He has six top seven finishes in his last eight starts.

Scott Dixon

He may be 0-for-16 at St. Pete, but Dixon does have four runner-ups though and three podiums in his last four starts there. Furthermore, he’s not finished worse than seventh since 2016.

Alexander Rossi

He had a car capable of winning last year. Rossi, also has two top fives in his last three St. Pete starts at that.

Race Preview

The NTT IndyCar Series returns to action this weekend with the 17th trip to the streets of St. Pete. What’s different about this year is that for the second straight time, we’re not starting the season on the west coast Florida track. Also, this is the second time in the last six months that we’ve raced here too. How much does that play a role into Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete (12 p.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network).

Josef Newgarden will look to three peat this race as no one has ever done so in the past. Can he accomplish history on Sunday? He at the very least needs a good finish. Newgarden, scored his worst even finish since he joined Team Penske in 2017 with an opening lap crash and 23rd place finish last Sunday in Barber. He’s now 46 points out of the lead and most notably 34 points arrears to Will Power and 28 to Scott Dixon. That’s a lot of points to spot them this early.

Can Scott Dixon earn his first trip to victory lane there. He’s 0-for-16. He is coming off of a third place run last Sunday.

Or will we get someone new? Only five drivers in this year’s field have ever won a race at St. Pete.

This will be Jimmie Johnson’s first career street course race, so that’s something to behold while it will also mark Scott McLaughlin’s second start on a track. He made his series debut here last October. Does that boost his confidence any?

Of Note

All but two times has the race winner come from a top 10 starting position at St. Pete. Also, 13 of the last 15 Indy Car races overall have seen the eventual winner start in the first 5 Rows including 9 of the last 10 from a top 3 starting position.

Key Stat

We’ve only had 2 pole winners in 16 years here. Will Power has won nine poles at St. Pete but only one of them have resulted in a win.

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