IPS: IRL: St. Pete: Round two preview, schedule

FAST FACTS WHAT: IndyCar® Series: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, second race in 14-race 2006 season Indy Pro Series: Indy Pro Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, second and third races in 12-race 2006 season WHERE: Streets of St.

FAST FACTS

WHAT:
IndyCar® Series: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, second race in 14-race 2006 season
Indy Pro Series: Indy Pro Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, second and third races in 12-race 2006 season

WHERE:
Streets of St. Petersburg, 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary street course

WHEN:
IndyCar Series: 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, April 2
Indy Pro Series:
    Race 1: 3:30 p.m. (EST), Saturday, April 1
    Race 2: 11:30 a.m. (EDT),Sunday, April 2

DISTANCE:
IndyCar Series: 100 laps/181 miles
Indy Pro Series: 40 laps/72 miles (each race)

POSTED AWARDS:
IndyCar Series: More than $1 million
Indy Pro Series: $187,500 (each race)

CARS:
IndyCar Series: Dallara and Panoz chassis; Honda Indy V-8; Firestone tires
Indy Pro Series: Dallara chassis; Firestone tires

PREVIOUS RACE WINNERS:
IndyCar Series: Dan Wheldon (2005)
Indy Pro Series: Marco Andretti (2005)

TV:
IndyCar Series: Race: ESPN (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), April 2
Indy Pro Series: Race: ESPN2 (tape-delay), 4 p.m. (EDT), April 7

RADIO:
IndyCar Series:
    Qualifying: IMS Radio Network, live web-cast 1:30 p.m. (EST) April 1; Wrap-up Show: 4:30 p.m. (EST)
    Pre-race: IMS Radio Network (live), 3 p.m. (EDT), April 2
    Race: IMS Radio Network (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), April 2
    Live coverage of Marlboro Pole Qualifying (2:30 p.m. EST, March 25) and the race also will be available at www.indycar.com. The race broadcast is also available on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 "Extreme XM."

SCHEDULE (all times local; subject to change):

Friday, March 31
10:20 - 12:20 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (all cars)
12:55- 1:40 p.m. Indy Pro Series practice
2-3:10 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups determined by morning practice speeds)
3:30 -- 4 p.m. Indy Pro Series practice

Saturday, April 1
8:30-9 a.m. Indy Pro Series practice (Times will count towards Race 1 qualifying)
9:15 -- 10:25 a.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups determined by Friday practice speeds)
10:40 -- 11:25 a.m. Indy Pro Series practice (Times will count towards Race 1 qualifying)
1:45 -- 3:15 p.m. Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Marlboro Pole Qualifying
3:30 p.m. Indy Pro Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Race #1 (40 laps, 72 miles)

Sunday, April 2
8:30 -- 8:40 a.m. Indy Pro Series final practice
10:15- 10:45 a.m. IndyCar Series final practice
11:30 a.m. Indy Pro Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Race #1 (40 laps, 72 miles)
3:45 p.m. Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (100 laps/181 miles), ESPN & IMS Radio Network (live)

THE TRACK:
1.8-mile temporary street course; varying in width from 26-63 feet wide
Mainstraight: 2,413 feet
Backstretch: 1,940 feet
Turns: 14

The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is operated by Andretti Green Promotions. The course, which was used by the IndyCar Series for the first time in 2005, utilizes several public streets in downtown St. Petersburg, including stretches of 1st Street South, Central Aveune and Bay Shore Drive, and a runway at Albert Whitted Airport.

INDY-STYLE RACING IN ST. PETERSBURG:

Florida's western coast is not a stranger to auto racing competition. Plant Field was located at the site of the old Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa from 1921-1980. IMCA and USAC sanctioned many races at Plant Field before it became part of the Tampa University Athletic Field. The grandstands from the race track were used for the universities' athletic facilities.

From 1985 through 1990 and again from 1995-1996, St. Petersburg played host to SCCA Trans-Am Series racing. Among the winners of those events are: Indianapolis 500 starters Willy T. Ribbs, Pete Halsmer and Scott Pruett.

In 2003, the streets of downtown St. Petersburg hosted open-wheel racing for the first time when CART raced on a temporary street course, which incorporated the downtown area's waterfront.

In September 2004, the Indy Racing League announced its intentions to race the same course at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on April 3, 2005. It was the first IndyCar Series event not to take place on an oval.

INDYCAR SERIES NOTES:

Five Indianapolis 500 champions are expected to participate in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg: Buddy Lazier (1996), Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998), Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002), Buddy Rice (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005).

Drivers entered in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg have combined for 75 IndyCar Series victories, 60 pole positions and 898 starts.

The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be the second IndyCar Series event conducted on the streets of St. Petersburg. Dan Wheldon was inaugural winner in 2005. The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is the fourth non-oval event in IndyCar Series history and just the second street-course race. Previous road and street course winners in the IndyCar Series are: Dan Wheldon (St. Petersburg, 2005), Tony Kanaan (Infineon, 2005) and Scott Dixon (Watkins Glen, 2005).

Six IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg: Scott Sharp (1996 co-champion), Buddy Lazier (2000), Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002), Scott Dixon (2003), Tony Kanaan (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005).

INDY PRO SERIES NOTES:

Bussell looks to extend record: Nick Bussell, who finished second at Homestead last weekend, has been running at the finish in 15 consecutive Indy Pro Series races, establishing a series record. He'll look to push the streak to 17 at St. Petersburg.

Luyendyk Jr. an Ironman: The St. Petersburg races will mark the 42nd and 43rd career Indy Pro Series starts for Arie Luyendyk Jr., the son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk.

Simmons the man to beat: Jeff Simmons has won five of the last eight Indy Pro Series races, including the season opener at Homestead last weekend. Simmons has nine consecutive top-five finishes.

Simmons streak at 18: Jeff Simmons has started 18 consecutive Indy Pro Series races dating back to Chicagoland in 2004. Last year, Simmons led the series with four victories and was the only driver to record a win at each type of track -- short oval (Milwaukee and Pikes Peak); speedway (Chicagoland) and road course (Watkins Glen).

More records on the line: Wade Cunningham and Jaime Camara have their sights on some Indy Pro Series records this weekend. Cunningham enters the weekend with 15 consecutive top-five finishes, one shy of the record held by Thiago Medeiros. Cunningham and Camara have 15 consecutive top-10 starts, also one shy of Thiago Medeiros' record.

Four former race winners in the field: Four former Indy Pro Series race winners will take the green flag at St. Petersburg. Jaime Camara, Wade Cunningham, Jon Herb and Jeff Simmons each won races in 2005.

Two rookies to debut: Seven rookies are scheduled to compete at St. Petersburg with England's Alex Lloyd, the 2003 winner of the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year award, and 2005 Star Mazda Champion Raphael Matos making their Indy Pro Series debut.

-irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Jon Herb , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Pete Halsmer , Dan Wheldon , Willy T. Ribbs , Marco Andretti , Jeff Simmons , Alex Lloyd , Nick Bussell , Wade Cunningham , Jaime Camara , Sam Hornish Jr. , Thiago Medeiros , Arie Luyendyk Jr.