IndyCar at St. Petersburg Sunday: How to watch, start times, live streaming info

IndyCar St. Petersburg start
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Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden and the NTT IndyCar Series were in St. Petersburg, Florida, just more than seven months ago when the start of the 2020 schedule began “falling apart” because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

They will return Sunday for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg as IndyCar crowns either Dixon or Newgarden as its champion in one of the circuit’s strangest years ever.

“It’s kind of fitting that we come full circle with this,” Newgarden said. “It was odd to be there at the beginning of the year when everything fell apart, not just in IndyCar, but the world really. To be able to finally come back and run the race is great. To have some fans there is fantastic. Hopefully have a little bit of energy.”

INDYCAR AT ST. PETE: Weekend schedule, entry list, title-clinching scenarios

There will be up to 20,000 fans at the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary street circuit in downtown St. Petersburg this weekend, and they will be witnessing the championship being decided in the IndyCar season finale for the 15th consecutive year.

The season wasn’t perfect. The Indianapolis 500 went off without fans, and the schedule was shortened from 17 to 14 races as several venues couldn’t host (St. Pete will mark the only street race).

But for an outcome that seemed virtually impossible when St. Pete was postponed on Friday, March 13 (and later seemingly canceled), reaching the finish line is “a major victory,” Dixon said. “It’s been such a bizarre year, a year I’ll definitely never forget, no one else will really. There will be standout moments you’ll reflect on like walking out of Gasoline Alley on race day and seeing nobody. A polarization of what’s normal.

“We have to be thankful for the situation we’re in.”

Dixon, who has led the standings after every race since opening the season with victories at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and Road America, has a 32-point lead over Newgarden.

Of the nearly 19,000 championship scenarios, 99 percent have Dixon winning a sixth championship over Newgarden the defending and two-time series champion.

Here are the details and start times for the IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (all times are ET):


Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

TV: 2:30 p.m., NBC (streaming), NBC Sports Gold and streaming on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com); Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for IndyCar on NBC with analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.

COMMAND TO START ENGINES: 2:24 p.m.

GREEN FLAG: 2:31 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 100 laps (180 miles) on a 14-turn, 1.8-mile street course through downtown St. Petersburg.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate. One extra set is available to the rookie drivers entered.

PUSH TO PASS: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum single duration of 15 seconds. The push-to-pass is not available on the initial start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race.

FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 84 degrees with a 15% chance of rain at the green flag.

PRACTICE: 10:55 a.m. ET Saturday (live on NBC Sports Gold)

QUALIFYING: 3 p.m. ET Saturday (live on NBC Sports Gold; replay at 8 p.m. on NBCSN)

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the 24 drivers racing at St. Pete


Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race day schedule

10:40-11:10 a.m.: IndyCar warmup, NBC Sports Gold

2:27 p.m.: Command to start engines

2:30 p.m.: Race broadcast begins on NBC (stream via NBCSports.com, NBC Sports App)

2:32 p.m.: Green flag

New Chip Ganassi driver Marcus Armstrong will team with boyhood idol Scott Dixon

Marcus Armstrong Scott Dixon
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images
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Marcus Armstrong was a Scott Dixon fan his entire life, and when he was 8, the aspiring young racer asked his fellow New Zealander to autograph a helmet visor that he hung on his bedroom wall.

Next year, Armstrong will be Dixon’s teammate.

Armstrong was named Friday as the fourth IndyCar driver in the Chip Ganassi Racing lineup and will pilot the No. 11 next season on road and street courses.

A driver for the five oval races on the 17-race schedule will be named later.

The No. 11 is essentially the No. 48 that seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson drove the last two seasons, with Chip Ganassi making the change to run four cars numbered in sequential order. Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson drives the No. 8, six-time champion Dixon drives the No. 9, and 2020 IndyCar champion Alex Palou drives the No. 10.

So just who is the second Kiwi in the Ganassi lineup?

A 22-year-old who spent the past three seasons in Formula One feeder series F2, a Ferrari development driver in 2021, and former roommate of Callum Illot and former teammate of Christian Lundgaard – both of whom just completed their rookie IndyCar seasons.

“I’ve always been attracted to the IndyCar championship because it’s one of those championships that’s been really well televised in New Zealand since I was young, mainly because of Scott and his success,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “As time progressed, as I got closer to F1 and single-seaters, the attraction to IndyCar grew just because of how competitive the championship is – I like to challenge myself and the level of competition in IndyCar is remarkably high.”

Armstrong, from Christchurch, New Zealand, was set to travel from his current home in London to Indianapolis this weekend to meet his new team. He won’t need an introduction to Dixon, the 42-year-old considered the best IndyCar driver of his generation and Armstrong’s unequivocal childhood hero.

Last season, Dixon earned his 53rd career victory to pass Mario Andretti for second on the all-time list. Dixon has driven for Ganassi in all but 23 of his 345 career starts.

“For a long time I’ve been a Scott Dixon fan. I don’t want to make him cringe with our age difference,” Armstrong told the AP.

Despite the two-decade age difference, Armstrong never considered someday racing with Dixon a fantasy.

He convinced his father after winning five national karting championships to allow him to leave New Zealand for Italy at age 14, where he moved by himself to pursue a racing career. Armstrong said as soon as he’d received parental permission, he’d never look back.

Armstrong was in Formula 4 two years after his move to Italy and won that title in his first season. He won four races and four poles in F3 in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, then collected four wins and eight podiums in three seasons of F2.

“Maybe it’s a strength, or maybe it’s a weakness, but I always thought I was capable of doing great in the sport,” Armstrong told the AP. “I think you probably have to succeed in the sport, you need to believe in yourself. I always pictured myself being in IndyCar.

“As Scott’s teammate? I can’t specifically say I saw that. It’s an extraordinary chain of events.”

Armstrong becomes just the latest driver to leave Europe, where F1 is the pinnacle but has only 20 seats each year. Alexander Rossi began the trend in 2016 when the American left F1 and won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. He’s been followed by Ericsson, last season’s Indy 500 winner, Romain Grosjean, Illot, Lundgaard, and on Thursday three-time W Series champion and Williams F1 reserve driver Jamie Chadwick was announced as driver for Andretti Autosport in IndyCar’s second-tier development series.

Armstrong said he could have remained in F2 for a fourth season, but he’d been watching IndyCar for so long, and after conversations with Illot and Lundgaard, he decided to make the move to what he believes is the most balanced racing series in the world. He tested for Dale Coyne Racing at Sebring in October.

He doesn’t know if European racing is done for good, just that he wants to be in IndyCar right now.

“I don’t want to think too far into the future, I’m just grateful for this opportunity that is standing right in front of me,” Armstrong said. “I want to perform as well as I can in the near future and just consolidate myself in the fantastic chance that is IndyCar and just do my best.

“I’m not looking at F1 as a landing spot – I am looking at IndyCar, and that’s exactly why I am here.”