By Dylan Reynolds, OpenWheel.com
The 2023 INDYCAR season kicks off this weekend with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES 2023 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. OpenWheel.com will be covering the action all weekend so stay tuned to this site and our Twitter page @openwh33l for all of the latest news.
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INDY NXT by Firestone Preview: INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Entry List) – Sunday, March 5, 2023 10:00AM (ET) Peacock – A new season begins with tremendous change including the name with of the series as Indy Lights is now INDY NXT. Gone are the names that have dominated the last couple seasons but plenty of talent remains in a 19 car field for the opener this weekend. With new tire compounds, Firestone is now the tire manufacturer rather than Cooper Tires, and all of the new drivers it’s hard to tell exactly what to expect this weekend but I’d say look out for Andretti Autosport and Hunter McElrea as the favorite this weekend.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Preview: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg– Sunday, March 5, 2023 12:00PM (ET) NBC – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns in 2023 with another loaded field after an incredible season last year. Previous driver performance on the Streets of St. Petersburg shows six former winners entered in Helio Castroneves (3), Will Power (2), Josef Newgarden (2), Graham Rahal (1), Colton Herta (1), and Scott McLaughlin. McLaughlin (2022) and Herta (2021) are the two most recent winners. Looking at the box scores from 2022 and 2021, only Herta finished in the Top 5 of both races. If that’s expanded to the Top 10, Herta is joined by Power, Rinus VeeKay, Scott Dixon, and Marcus Ericsson.
My pick to win: Scott McLaughlin – McLaughlin was so good at this circuit last year and figures to be strong again as he looks to mount a serious championship effort. Penske cars are historically quick here and you can’t go wrong with any of their trio of drivers.
My fantasy.indycar.com picks: Scott McLaughlin $29, Alexander Rossi $26, Rinus VeeKay $24, Marcus Armstrong $21 – You know my thoughts on McLaughlin. Rossi has been quick here before and will be looking for an impressive debut with his new Arrow McLaren team. VeeKay has finished in P6 and P9 over the last two years starting no worse than 7th. Armstrong turned heads in testing, is in a Ganassi car, and has pit stop experience coming from F2 making him a solid choice from the rookie class.