The IndyCar Series opens its season Sunday with a street race in St. Petersburg, Fla.The series has a new champion, American Ryan Hunter-Reay, who last year held off Will Power to end Dario Franchitti’s three-year reign at the top.The IndyCar drivers will visit Texas Motor Speedway in June for the Firestone 550k, a prime-time Saturday night race to be televised nationally on ABC.The series is trying something new this year. It has added three “doubleheader” weekends — races on back-to-back days in Detroit, Toronto and Houston. It gives the series 19 races, the most in its 12-year history.Here is a look at some of the storylines in 2013:Storylines Is it Will Power’s year? The 32-year-old Australian driver has been second in the point standings for the past three years. But is he slipping? Last year, he won “only” three times, half as many as the year before, and posted “only” six podiums, a third fewer than the year before. Dario at 40: Four-time series winner Dario Franchitti turns 40 in May, in the midst of his 11th season in IndyCar. He’ll be going for his fifth championship, but coming off a somewhat disappointing year. He won only once, and he had his lowest average finish (10.8) since 2002, his first year in IndyCar. Family connection: Graham Rahal is driving for his father’s team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He drove for Chip Ganassi last year and was second at TMS. Full-time Frenchman: Sebastien Bourdais, with 31 victories in CART, is planning a full-time season in IndyCar. He ran part-time seasons the last three years without a lap led or a podium finish. Simona’s chance: Simona de Silvestro had almost no chance to show her abilities last year, trying to race with substandard power from struggling engine maker Lotus. This year, she has Chevy power with KV Racing and teammate Tony Kanaan.
By the numbers
6Top-fives posted last year by rookie of the year Simon Pagenaud of France, only one fewer than series winner Ryan Hunter-Reay.
7Consecutive finishes inside the top five in the point standings for Scott Dixon. He has been third the past three years.
9Consecutive Indy 500 victories for Honda
16Poles won by Dario Franchitti over the last five seasons.
162Consecutive starts in IndyCar by Tony Kanaan. Including CART, the streak is 196.
They said it
“Will and I, I’m sure it will be a seasonlong thing.” Ryan Hunter-Reay, on the competition with Will Power
“Just get four points. I just need to score four more points. It’s not really to change much.” Power, on what he has to do to win the title in 2013.
|Sunday||St. Petersburg||Street||11 a.m./NBC Sports.|
|April 7||Birmingham||Road||2 p.m./KXAS/5|
|April 21||Long Beach||Street||3 p.m./KXAS/5|
|May 5||Sao Paulo||Street||10 a.m./KXAS/5|
|May 26||Indianapolis||Oval||10 a.m./WFAA/8|
|June 1||Belle Isle 1||Street||2:30 p.m./WFAA/8|
|June 2||Belle Isle 2||Street||2:30 p.m./WFAA/8|
|June 8||TMS||Oval||7:30 p.m./WFAA/8|
|June 15||Milwaukee||Oval||1:30 p.m./KXAS/5|
|June 23||Iowa||Oval||1:30 p.m./WFAA/8|
|July 7||Pocono||Oval||11 a.m./WFAA/8|
|July 13||Toronto 1||Street||2 p.m./KXAS/5|
|July 14||Toronto 2||Street||2 p.m./KXAS/5|
|Aug. 4||Mid-Ohio||Road||2 p.m./KXAS/5|
|Aug. 25||Sonoma||Road||3 p.m./KXAS/5|
|Sept. 1||Baltimore||Street||1 p.m./KXAS/5|
|Oct. 5||Houston 1||Street||2 p.m./KXAS/5|
|Oct. 6||Houston 2||Street||Noon/KXAS/5|
|Oct. 19||Fontana||Oval||7 p.m./KXAS/5|
7:30 p.m. June 8
Texas Motor Speedway
|2006||Sam Hornish Jr.|
|2002||Sam Hornish Jr.|
|2001||Sam Hornish Jr.|
|1996||Buzz Calkins,Scott Sharp|