IndyCar race weekend schedule for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg season finale

IndyCar weekend schedule St. Petersburg
Karl Zemlin/IndyCar
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The end that was the beginning is the end for the NTT IndyCar Series, whose 2020 schedule ends this weekend on the streets of St. Petersburg.

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was slated to start the season March 15 before the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic struck, postponing the traditional season opener by more than seven months.

Sunday’s 100-lap race on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary circuit will be the 14th and final race of the 2020 season (originally slated for 17 races). It’s also the first time in two months that IndyCar won’t be holding races on consecutive days (after weekend doubleheaders at World Wide Technology Raceway, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course).

For the 15th consecutive season, the IndyCar championship will be determined in the finale as five-time defending champion Scott Dixon enters with a 32-point lead over two-time and defending series champion Josef Newgarden.

In addition to the NTT IndyCar Series, the USF2000, Indy Pro 2000 and MX-5 Cup also will be racing at St. Pete, which has been approved for a crowd of 20,000 fans.

Here’s the IndyCar weekend schedule for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg:

(All times are Eastern)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Friday, Oct. 23

11:05-11:35 a.m. — USF2000 practice
11:55 a.m.-12:25 p.m. — Indy Pro 2000 practice
2:35-3:05 p.m. — USF2000 qualifying, Race 1
3:25-3:55 p.m. — Indy Pro 2000 qualifying, Race 1

IndyCar weekend schedule: Saturday, Oct. 24

9:30-9:50 a.m. — USF2000 qualifying, Race 2
10:10-10:30 a.m. — Indy Pro 2000 qualifying, Race 2
10:55 a.m.-12:25 p.m. — IndyCar practice (NBC Sports Gold)
3:05-4:20 p.m. — IndyCar qualifying (NBC Sports Gold)
4:40-5:25 p.m. — USF2000, Race 1
5:35-6:15 p.m. — Indy Pro 2000, Race 1

IndyCar weekend schedule: Sunday, Oct. 25

9:30-10:15 a.m. — USF2000, Race 2
10:40-11:10 a.m. — IndyCar warmup (NBC Sports Gold)
11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m. — Indy Pro 2000, Race 2
2:30 p.m. — IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (NBC, NBCSports.com, NBC Sports App)

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.