The busy offseason finally comes to a close this Sunday on the streets of St. Petersburg, FL. The IZOD INDYCAR Series will officially kick off the 2011 racing season at 12:30pm on ABC.
There have been more rule changes, driver/car/team change, and just overall news in this offseason than any other year that I can remember. Perhaps the biggest stories before the race will be the drivers that will not be racing. Both Dan Wheldon and Paul Tracy will not race in this event and the bigger story (Wheldon) may be without a ride all season.
Most of the Danica Patrick to NASCAR news will heat up as the season gets further along, but she will still get more than her fair share of attention this weekend. This will also be the first race for Mike Conway after his horrific crash at Indianapolis last year. He is now with Andretti Autosport, after veteran Tony Kanaan was let go earlier this offseason.
The spotlight will once again be on Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing, most of which will belong to Will Power and Dario Franchitti, as these two took the championship down to the wire last year. Dario got the championship and another Indianapolis 500 win, but Power virtually dominated every road/street race during the season.
As we get set to drop the green flag on Sunday, here is a look at my predictions for the race weekend.