The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Sports

March 19, 2013

Ken de la Bastide: IndyCar kicks off season in Florida

The long-awaited start of the IZOD IndyCar Series season kicks off this weekend on the street course at St. Petersburg with 25 cars entered for the event.

Last year Helio Castroneves opened the season with a win in Florida, but the real question going into the season is can Will Power secure that first IndyCar title?

Power, a teammate of Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe on Team Penske, has been the runner-up for the championship the past three years. What has always been the Achilles heel for Power is the oval tracks the series runs on.

Last year he started from the pole at St. Petersburg so it will be crucial for him to start the season strong on the street course.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, driving for Andretti Autosport, is the defending series champion — having beat Power by three points in 2012.

There are many questions entering the season. Will JR Hildebrand, James Hinchcliffe, Simon Pagenaud, Charlie Kimball or Simona de Silverstro record that breakthrough win?

de Silvestro, after enduring a terrible 2012 season in a Lotus-powered car, has landed a ride with KV Racing Technology. It will be interesting to see if she can become more competitive now that she has landed a ride with a top team.

Can the American drivers — Graham Rahal, Kimball, Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden — bring renewed interest in the open-wheel series after climbing up through the ranks of open-wheel racing in this country?

Nothing would be more welcome by series officials than for another American to emerge as a contender in 2013, joining Hunter-Reay.

Rahal is driving for his father, Bobby, as part of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing lineup with James Jakes as a teammate.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon will be looking for a third championship. He won the title in 2003 and 2008 so that five-year cycle is this year. His teammate, Dario Franchitti, the defending Indianapolis 500 winner, will be looking for a fifth championship.

IndyCar has provided some of the best racing in the country over the past few years, and it should continue in 2013. My only wish is that it would open the season on a true road course instead of a temporary street circuit.

St. Petersburg does provide good racing on the 1.8-mile course but, as with all street circuits, passing proves to be difficult.

The NBC Sports Network will show the race Sunday at noon, with the Firestone Indy Lights race preceding it at 11 a.m.

Text Only
Sports
  • SPL - PT041014 - Ken de la Bastide column - Ken sig Ken de la Bastide: Hunter-Reay's blunder proves costly A lack of patience cost Ryan Hunter-Reay and teammate James Hinchcliffe a chance at victory last weekend in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Long Beach.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0416 - tennis file - 14 Many girls tennis teams return top talent With spring sports getting off to a good start thanks to some spring-like weather last week, local girls tennis teams are taking to the court.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wild week will get later start The busiest week on Madison County's high school sports calendar is going to start a day later than expected.

    April 14, 2014

  • Familiar trio leads boys track teams Much like in years past, Anderson, Lapel and Pendleton Heights have assembled the largest number of track athletes of the area’s 11 high schools. And, while the remaining teams may struggle to compete from a team standpoint, they will send capable athletes to the line to challenge in individual events.

    April 14, 2014

  • New roles, same goals for Arabians

    Perhaps the most remarkable fact about the first 13 years of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament is that no team has repeated as champion.

    April 14, 2014

  • Track stars prepare for numbers game

    Track is a numbers game, not just with times and distances, but with roster sizes as well. Smaller schools often abandon the philosophy of competing for team titles when running against larger schools with nearly double the number of athletes. Instea

    April 14, 2014

  • SPT - HB0413 - Horseshoe Classic - 163 Arabians finish third in Horseshoe Classic It wasn't the place they wanted to be playing for, but the Pendleton Heights Arabians won their final game of the day to finish third in the Horseshoe Classic here Saturday.

    April 12, 2014 3 Photos

  • PH wins Yorktown invite Pendleton Heights and Alexandria opened the 2014 golf season as part of the 15-team field at the Yorktown Invitational. Despite the abundance of blue skies and sunshine, the weather may have been more of a challenge than the 18 holes at The Players Club.

    April 12, 2014

  • New faces dominate Tribe's roster At some point in the very near future — likely Monday — Anderson baseball coach Terry Turner will sit down with his players and explain the significance of the week ahead. He'll tell them who Nick Muller was and why he worked so very hard 14 years ago to help create a tournament that carries the former Indian's name.

    April 12, 2014

  • Area roundup: Daleville baseball takes two from Union City Daleville's bats were heated during its doubleheader against Union City on Saturday as the Broncos won the first game 24-0 and the second 13-0 in five innings each.

    April 12, 2014