Entry list for the IndyCar Series’ 2020 season opener at St. Petersburg

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The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series will begin with its highest car count for the season opener in eight years.

There are 26 cars on the entry list for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with an even split of 13 Chevrolets and 13 Hondas.

It ties a record for the largest field in the race that will open the IndyCar season for the 10th consecutive season.

TV COVERAGE: Where to watch this weekend’s St. Petersburg GP

VIEWER’S GUIDE: Five things to watch this season in IndyCar

There have been 26 cars in twice before at St. Petersburg (2012 and ’08). There were 24 cars entered in each of the past two IndyCar races at St. Petersburg.

Click here to view the entry list for the 17th Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Among the notables in the field:

  • Defending series champion Josef Newgarden also is the defending winner of the 100-lap race on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn course through downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Will Power won the pole position last year, one nine poles in the past 13 races at St. Pete for Team Penske.
  • Five-time series champion Scott Dixon is seeking his first victory on the circuit where he has four runner-up finishes (including last year).
  • There are five rookies entered, and four – Oliver Askew, Felipe Nasr, Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay — will make their IndyCar debuts this weekend.

There will be two practice sessions Saturday at 9:45 a.m. ET and 1:30 p.m. ET. Qualifying is at 4:45 p.m. ET Saturday. All IndyCar practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on NBC Sports Gold.

The race will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday. NBCSN will carry the race broadcast, starting at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Simon Pagenaud’s engineer relives 2019 Indy 500 victory on Twitter

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The Team Penske engineer for last year’s Indianapolis 500 winner is reliving Simon Pagenaud’s day by tweeting about what he was doing each moment a year later.

Starting with an observation that he awoke in his Indianapolis hotel room at 4:30 a.m., Ben Bretzman (@benbretzman) sent nearly two dozen tweets by 11 a.m. ET about how the morning before the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 unfolded.

Bretzman was through the infield tunnel and in Gasoline Alley by 6 a.m. By 7:30 a.m., he was wondering if his driver was awake yet, but he had heard for the first time from Pagenaud 45 minutes later.

‘BACK HOME AGAIN’Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, NBC

FIERCE FRIENDSHIPPagenaud, Rossi recall epic battle of 2019 Indy 500

Among other highlights: The team’s last strategy meeting was at 8:30 a.m.; final check of the weather was at 9:30 a.m. and Bretzman gave the No. 22 Dallara-Chevrolet a once-over at 10:35 a.m. before it was pushed to the grid.

Follow @BenBretzman to watch the day unfold from the pit box and tune into “Back Home Again at 2 p.m. ET on NBC as Pageanud and Alexander Rossi, who are good friends off the track, recap their epic duel with host Mike Tirico.

Simon Pagenaud and engineer Ben Bretzman debrief at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IndyCar photo by Joe Skibinski).