2017 IndyCar Series season preview: 17 races, 21 full-time entries

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The 2017 IndyCar Series, the premier American open-wheel racing competition, will start its 22nd season under the IndyCar name on the second weekend of March, at the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. The 2017 IndyCar calendar features 17 rounds, one more than in 2016, with six races at ovals, six at road courses and five at street circuits.

Season kicks off again at the streets of St.Petersburg

The city of St.Petersburg is a venue of the season-opening event since 2011. After an opening in March, three rounds will take place in April before IndyCar racers moved to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. The World Center of Racing will host Grand Prix race at a 2.4-mile road course on May 13 and the 101th running of Indianapolis 500 at the 2.5-mile oval on May 28.

The summer would be the busiest period of the season, with four rounds in June (including a double-header at Detroit Belle Isle), three rounds in July, two rounds in August and two rounds in September. Compared to 2016, the only new venue on the list is the Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois, which returns to the schedule for the first time since 2003. The 1.25-mile oval will host a race on August 26.

2017 IndyCar Series calendar

RoundDateEvent nameCircuit
1March 12Firestone Grand Prix of St.PetersburgStreets of St.Petersburg, Florida
2April 9Toyota Grand Prix of Long BeachStreets of Long Beach, California
3April 23Honda Indy Grand Prix of AlabamaBarber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama
4April 29Phoenix Grand PrixPhoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Arizona
5May 13IndyCar Grand PrixIndianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
6May 28101st Indianapolis 500Indianapolis Motor Speedway
7June 3Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Race 1The Raceway at Belle Isle Park, Detroit, Michigan
8June 4Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Race 2The Raceway at Belle Isle Park, Detroit, Michigan
9June 10Rainguard Water Sealer 600Texas Motor Speedway, Forth Worth, Texas
10June 25Kohler Grand PrixRoad America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
11July 9Iowa Corn 300Iowa Speedway, Newton, Iowa
12July 16Honda Indy TorontoExhibition Place, Toronto, Canada
13July 30Honda Indy 200Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio
14August 20ABC Supply 500Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pennsylvania
15August 26Bommarito Automotive Group 500Gateway Motorsports Park, Madison, Illinois
16September 3Grand Prix at The GlenWatkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, New York
17September 17GoPro Grand Prix of SonomaSonoma Raceway, Sonoma, California
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske 2017

The greatest transfer of the season – Newgarden moved to Team Penske

Team Penske replaces Montoya with Newgarden

Twenty-one full-time entries from eight teams are confirmed for the 2017 season. Some significant changes happened on the grid between two seasons. Juan-Pablo Montoya ended his three-year stint with the Team Penske, being demoted to a part-time status and confirming Indianapolis 500 participation only.

Team Penske’s #2 Chevrolet will be driven by Josef Newgarden, who scored career-best result last year, finishing fourth in the points and taking the Oval champion award. Other three drivers of Team Penske squadron remain the same – defending champion Simon Pagenaud in the #1 car, Helio Castroneves in the #3 and Will Power in the #12.

Simon Pagenaud, #1 Chevrolet Team Penske 2017

Defending champion Simon Pagenaud will drive the #1 Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing without Target and again with Honda

The other major team with four cars, Chip Ganassi Racing, underwent big changes, losing its longstanding sponsor Target and switching from Chevrolet to Honda. In a fact, CGR is returning to Honda, as they worked together from 1996 to 1999 in the CART championship and between 2006 and 2013 in the IndyCar Series. For the 2017 season, Chip Ganassi retained all four drivers – Max Chilton (#8), Scott Dixon (#9), Tony Kanaan (#10) and Charlie Kimball (#83).

Alexander Rossi, 2016 Rookie of the Year and Indianapolis 500 winner, stays with Andretti Herta Autosport

Alexander Rossi, 2016 Rookie of the Year and Indianapolis 500 winner, stays with Andretti Herta Autosport

Andretti Autosport again with four cars

Andretti Autosport will continue to run four cars, including one for the 2016 Rookie of the Year and Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who will drive the #98 Honda for Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian. Marco Andretti stays in the #27 Andretti Autosport entry, as well Ryan Hunter-Reay in the #28 car. New driver in the #26 Honda will be Japanese veteran Takuma Sato, who moved from AJ Foyt Enterprises.

Only one rookie on the grid

Carlos Munoz went to opposite direction, from Andretti Autosport to AJ Foyt’s team, taking the #14 car. The other AJ Foyt’s driver will be Conor Daly in the #4 Chevrolet. AJ Foyt Enterprises also changed a manufacturer, switching from Honda to Chevrolet. Dale Coyne Racing has a completely new line-up, with Sebastien Bourdais in the #18 Honda and 2016 Indy Lights champion Ed Jones in the #19 car. Ed Jones would be the only rookie on the grid during the 2017 season.

The 101th running of Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 28

The 101th running of Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 28

JR Hildebrand returns for the full time

Last year’s rookie Spencer Pigot signed for Ed Carpenter Racing to share the #20 Chevrolet with team owner Ed Carpenter. Pigot will drive on street circuits and road courses, Carpenter will attend six rounds at ovals. The second ECR car, the one with number 21, is reserved for J.R. Hildebrand, who returns to a full-time schedule for the first time since 2012.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports will field two cars full time (#5 James Hinchcliffe and #7 Mikhail Aleshin) and one more for Indy 500 only, with British driver Jay Howard in the #77 Honda. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will have #15 Honda at the grid for 17 races, with Graham Rahal in a car, while Oriol Servia in the #16 car is announced for three races, including Indianapolis 500. One more entry for Indy 500 only is Sage Karam in the #24 Chevrolet for Dreyer &ampReinbold Racing.

2017 IndyCar Series entry list

1Team PenskeChevroletSimon Pagenaud
2Team PenskeChevroletJosef Newgarden
3Team PenskeChevroletHelio Castroneves
4A.J. Foyt EnterprisesChevroletConor Daly
5Schmidt Peterson MotorsportsHondaJames Hinchcliffe
7Schmidt Peterson MotorsportsHondaMikhail Aleshin
8Chip Ganassi RacingHondaMax Chilton
9Chip Ganassi RacingHondaScott Dixon
10Chip Ganassi RacingHondaTony Kanaan
11KV Racing TechnologyChevrolet
12Team PenskeChevroletWill Power
14A.J. Foyt EnterprisesChevroletCarlos Munoz
15Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHondaGraham Rahal
16Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHondaOriol Servia*
18Dale Coyne RacingHondaSebastien Bourdais
19Dale Coyne RacingHondaEd Jones
20Ed Carpenter RacingChevroletSpencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter
21Ed Carpenter RacingChevroletJ.R. Hildebrand
24Dreyer & Reinbold RacingChevroletSage Karam*
26Andretti AutosportHondaTakuma Sato
27Andretti AutosportHondaMarco Andretti
28Andretti AutosportHondaRyan Hunter-Reay
77Schmidt Peterson MotorsportsHondaJay Howard*
83Chip Ganassi RacingHondaCharlie Kimball
98Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb AgajanianHondaAlexander Rossi
Team PenskeChevroletJuan Pablo Montoya*

Photos: indycar.com,

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