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2018 Point Standings
After Barber
Rank Driver Points

1 Josef Newgarden 158
2 Alexander Rossi 145
3 Sebastien Bourdais 119
4 Graham Rahal 119
5 James Hinchcliffe 118
6 Ryan Hunter-Reay 113
7 Scott Dixon 107
8 Robert Wickens 97
9 Marco Andretti 88
10 Will Power 81
11 Ed Jones 79
12 Tony Kanaan 79
13 Zach Veach 77
14 Takuma Sato 70
15 Simon Pagenaud 66
16 Spencer Pigot 61
17 Gabby Chaves 55
18 Matheus Leist 51
19 Charlie Kimball 50
20 Max Chilton 44
21 Jordan King 38
22 Zachary De Melo 31
23 Ed Carpenter 26
24 Jack Harvey 25
25 Kyle Kaiser 23
26 Rene Binder 22
27 Pietro Fittipaldi 7

Rookie of Year Standings
1. Robert Wickens 97
2. Zach Veach 77
3. Matheus Leist 51
4. Jordan King 38
5. Zachary De Melo 31
6. Jack Harvey 25
7. Kyle Kaiser 23
8. Rene Binder 22
9. Pietro Fittipaldi 7

Manufacturer Standings
1. Honda 338
2. Chevy 271

St. Petersburg GP Preview

Indy Car
Thursday, April 3, 2008


Helio Castroneves
As this weekend’s St. Petersburg’s second round of the unified IndyCar Series approaches, the winner of the past two races at St. Petersburg and the winner of America’s “Dancing with the Stars” last November, Helio Castroneves, hopes to return to the Victory Lane for a third consecutive season.

The affable South Florida resident has led 135 laps at St. Petersburg the last two seasons and only two drivers have ever won three consecutive races at the same track, with local Dan Wheldon winning three in a row at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2005-07) and Scott Dixon capturing three in a row at Watkins Glen (2005-07).

While Castroneves may be looking for the hat-trick, St. Petersburg resident Dan Wheldon also has his sights set on a return to his hometown Victory Lane for the first time since 2005. After winning the inaugural Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Wheldon has finished ninth in 2007 and 16th in 2006 and now heads to his home-track fresh from a third-place finish in the season opener.

Round one winner, Brisbane-born Kiwi Scott Dixon, and Australian Ryan Briscoe are also expected to be on the pace, with Dixon especially counting history on his side.

By winning the season opener on the 1.5-mile (2.4km) Homestead-Miami Speedway oval, the Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver just may have put himself in the driver’s seat for the 2008 IndyCar Series championship, with drivers who have won the Homestead opener going on to win the series championship four times, including Dixon as a rookie in 2003.

In addition to that long-term history, Dixon is proving to be the man to beat in the IndyCar Series based on his short-term results - in the 18 races since the start of the 2007 season, the Brisbane-born Kiwi has finished first or second 11 times.

For Briscoe, the chance of a podium finish in his first round of the IndyCar Series as a full-time pilot for Team Penske was snatched away when a spinning Milka Duno saw him taken out of the race on lap 127 after running in the top five for the majority of the race.

Briscoe’s #6 Team Penske Honda/Dallara/Firestone showed obvious pace throughout the entirety of his appearance, and the 26 year old from Sydney is expected to make a good showing on the streets this weekend.

For the nine drivers transitioning into the IndyCar Series, the streets of St. Petersburg should prove to be more comfortable surroundings, a fact Team Australia’s Will Power is sure to be looking forward to with street courses his strongest discipline.

After competing in his IndyCar debut and only his second-ever oval race last weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the 27-year-old is now focusing on a form of racing that is very familiar to the Australian.

The Toowoomba driver has had great success on street circuits to date, with wins on street courses across three continents in various forms of open-wheel racing along with other strong results including two pole positions at his home race - the Gold Coast Indy 300.

Of the nine transitioning drivers, only two had made more than five starts on ovals prior to last weekend’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Of the nine, Oriol Servia recorded the best finish at Homestead-Miami (12th) and along with Bruno Junqueira will head to the Florida street race with prior experience after competing in Champ Car’s inaugural Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in 2003.

While the transitioning teams come to terms with ‘new everything’, for those continuing in the series some off-season changes to their machines will now come into affect, with the two changes introduced by the IndyCar Series more easily seen on street and road circuits than on ovals.

For 2008, all cars were outfitted with a paddle shift system that allows drivers to shift gears without removing their hands from the steering wheel. A variable assist steering system also has been introduced, easing the effort required to turn the steering wheel the farther the wheel is turned.

Following the St. Petersburg race the unified series continues on a schedule that is the most diverse in world motorsports.

The 2008 schedule will take the teams and drivers to short ovals, superspeedways, and road and street courses including the Gold Coast Indy 300 which is regarded as a ‘crown jewel’ in international motorsport.

Scott Dixon - #9 Target Chip Ganassi Honda/Dallara/Firestone
"Finishing second, with ('07 titlist) Dario (Franchitti) leaving, you'd sort of think that I'm a (title) contender," said Dixon.

"I think every year there's a crop of five, six or seven of us that have a great shot at it. And I think you saw all of us racing at the top.

"It's going to be a tough championship. I think Homestead definitely helps. It puts you off to a great start. It's a tough place to race; not a place I've done particularly well since it changed to the banked oval. I loved it when it was a flat circuit or a flat track.

"For our campaign for 2008, that was exactly what we wanted to do. We wanted to come out of the blocks fast and hard. I don't think we had a car that was enjoyable to drive throughout the race. But we had to fight on. That's how we got to win championships."

"As I keep saying, for a bad day (at Homestead) we still come away with maximum points.

"That's what we've got to do. We've got to hit the start hard and gain as many points as possible, because I think last year that's how we lost it."

Ryan Briscoe - #6 Team Penske Racing Honda/Dallara/Firestone
“Yeah, I certainly believe (that I will have a successful season on the ovals as well as the road street courses),” said Briscoe.

“Going to St. Petersburg, (I am) a little bit nervous and didn't really at Homestead last week, I was really happy, as it has been 2005 since I raced and won on a mile-and-a-half oval, so I wasn’t really sure how I was going to go, and I have a lot to learn on ovals and so on.

“I was racing with the leaders and keeping in touch, and that's just the first race. We certainly took it pretty conservatively - we didn't go into the race putting downforce level or whatever was going to give us the quickest car out there that would lead laps and so on, but we just wanted to come away with a good, solid result and that's exactly what we were doing.

"We were probably looking at finishing anywhere between I reckon second and fourth or, keeping in touch, you never know what happens with a win but I wasn't really expecting to win at Homestead, and at the worst, very worst was going to look like fifth, which would have been great for starting off a championship.

"I expect as I get more experience to get better on the ovals as the season goes on. The big goal of mine this year is to get the race win on an oval. That will be huge.

“(Team Penske) is going great. (I raced for) Penske for the ALMS program (last year), (and) I've got to know everyone, and I actually got to know a lot of the IndyCar guys, and especially my mechanic, Tom German. We got to know each other really well last year already spending time away from the circuit.

“I was coming into a group of people where I'm already feeling pretty comfortable and our working relationship has been spot on. I'm really happy, and we're understanding each other really well, and it's just perfect.”

Will Power - #8 Team Australia - Aussie Vineyards Honda/Dallara/Firestone
“I’ve had a good look at the St Petersburg street circuit and it looks like a great track,” said Power.

“It has a similar feel to my home race in Surfers Paradise because the track is right next to the water and there are some really challenging sections.

“I’m really looking forward to getting on a street circuit in the Aussie Vineyards – Team Australia car. Both my wins last season came on street circuits and I’ve always loved racing on street circuits right from the start of my career.

“We are still going to be behind the existing IndyCar teams but coming to a street circuit certainly closes the gap. After this weekend we will have a much clearer indication of where we are at compared to the other teams and in what areas we need to concentrate our development.

“I had a lot of fun running the oval for what feels like a whole week at Homestead and the team and I learned a huge amount. I will definitely feel a little bit more at home on the street circuit at St Pete this weekend and I can’t wait to get out there and hopefully challenge for a strong result.”

ENTRY LIST - IndyCar® Series - Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg At Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.
2.30pm ET Sunday April 6, 2008
4.30am AET Monday April 7, 2008

Car - Driver - Entrant
2 - A.J. Foyt IV - Vision Racing
3 - Helio Castroneves - Team Penske
4 - Vitor Meira - Panther Racing
5 - Oriol Servia - KV Racing Technology
6 - Ryan Briscoe - Team Penske
7 - Danica Patrick - Andretti Green Racing
8 - Will Power (R) - KV Racing Technology
9 - Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing
10 - Dan Wheldon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing
11 - Tony Kanaan - Andretti Green Racing
14 - Darren Manning - A.J. Foyt Enterprises
15 - Buddy Rice - Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
17 - Ryan Hunter-Reay - Rahal Letterman Racing
18 - Bruno Junqueira - Dale Coyne Racing
19 - Mario Moraes (R) - Dale Coyne Racing
20 - Ed Carpenter - Vision Racing
23 - Townsend Bell - Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
24 - Jay Howard (R) - Roth Racing
25 - Marty Roth - Roth Racing
26 - Marco Andretti - Andretti Green Racing
27 - Hideki Mutoh (R) - Andretti Green Racing
33 - Ernesto Viso (R) - HVM Racing
34 - Franck Perera (R) - Conquest Racing
36 - Enrique Bernoldi (R) - Conquest Racing
02 - Justin Wilson (R) - Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
06 - Graham Rahal (R) - Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
(R) denotes Rookie Status. All cars use Dallara chassis, Honda engines and Firestone tires. Entry List Issued: 1/4/08

Race Notes
- Three Indianapolis 500 champions are expected to participate in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg - Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002), Buddy Rice (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005).
- Three IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg - Scott Dixon (2003), Tony Kanaan (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005).
- Drivers entered in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg as of March 31 have combined for 52 IndyCar Series victories, 57 pole positions and 813 starts.
- The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be the fourth IndyCar Series event conducted at St. Petersburg. Helio Castroneves has won the past two races, while local resident Dan Wheldon won the inaugural race in 2005. Both are entered in this year’s race.

- Scott Dixon, last weekend’s winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will go for back-to-back wins to start the season. He has finished second at St. Petersburg in each of the last two seasons.
- Andretti Green Racing, which had a 1-2-3-4 finish at St. Petersburg in 2005, placed three of its four drivers in the top 10 at Homestead-Miami.

Milestones & Records:
- Helio Castroneves can establish an IndyCar Series record for most consecutive seasons with at least one win should he win the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Castroneves is tied with Scott Sharp with victories in seven consecutive seasons.
- Helio Castroneves will attempt to make his 95th consecutive IndyCar Series start at St. Petersburg to become the reigning ‘Iron Man.’
- Helio Castroneves can join Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon as winners of three consecutive events at one track if he wins the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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