Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg 2013: Start Time, Lineup, TV Schedule, More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2013

ST PETERSBURG, FL - MARCH 25:  Dario Franchitti of Scotland, drives the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda during the IZOD IndyCar Series Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg on March 25, 2012 in St Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The 2013 IndyCar Series will kick off its season on Sunday with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

It will be hard to top the drama of last season. The title race went down the final event of the season, with Ryan Hunter-Reay barely edging Will Power by what was nearly the slimmest of margins.

The phrase always the bridesmaid, never the bride is quickly becoming applicable to Power. He's now finished second for the third year in a row.

With only 19 races on the calendar, a few bad performances can disrupt an entire campaign. Starting strong in St. Petersburg would be huge.

Since this is a street course, fans aren't going to see blinding speeds. What they will see, however, is some adept handling as drivers work their way around ridiculous curves.

Helio Castroneves will be looking to repeat as champion. The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was one of only two races Castroneves won last season. He's had plenty of success in Florida, having won in St. Petersburg on three difference occasions.

Here's a complete preview for the Honda Grand Prix, including the starting order, schedule and drivers to watch.


Date: Sunday, March 23, 2013

Start Time: 12:00 p.m. ET

Venue: St. Petersburg, Fla.


Starting Order (via MotorSportsTalk)

Row Drivers  
1 12-Will Power 14-Takuma Sato
2 78-Simona de Silvestro 27-James Hinchcliffe
3 3-Helio Castroneves 55-Tristan Vautier
4 25-Marco Andretti 1-Ryan Hunter-Reay
5 6-Sebastian Saavedra 10-Dario Franchitti
6 11-Tony Kanaan 22-Oriol Servia
7 19-Justin Wilson 83-Charlie Kimball
8 15-Graham Rahal 67-Josef Newgarden
9 98-Alex Tagliani 16-James Jakes
10 77-Simon Pagenaud 9-Scott Dixon
11 7-Sebastien Bourdais 5-EJ Viso
12 20-Ed Carpenter 4-JR Hildebrand
13 18-Ana Beatriz  


TV Schedule

NBC Sports Network will be airing the Indy Lights series race in St. Petersburg at 11:00 a.m. Following that will be live coverage of the Honda Grand Prix at noon.



Drivers to Watch

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Ryan Hunter-Reay is IndyCar's reigning champion. His 468 points last year gave him the 2012 championship. It was quite a surprise considering he had never finished better than seventh in both the Champ Car and IndyCar Series.

While Hunter-Reay will probably accept a repeat of his St. Petersburg performance from last season—third place—he'll be wanting to start his 2013 campaign with a bang.



Will Power

Power clearly loves St. Petersburg when it comes to qualifying. He won the pole for the fourth year in a row. It's not necessarily a good omen. Despite winning the pole last year, Power only finished seventh. He very quickly recovered, winning the next three races.

He couldn't replicate that run over the course of the season, eventually losing the title to Hunter-Reay by only three points. Power is likely still smarting over coming so close to the title without winning. He'll want to start the season off with a bang last year.



Helio Castroneves

As the reigning champ in St. Petersburg, all eyes will be on Castroneves. He finished fourth in the standings for the third time in four years last season.

The Brazilian is one of the veterans of the circuit. He'll be looking to win his first ever points title. Castroneves has had runner-up finishes in 2003 and 2008 but never once ended atop the standings at the end of the year.