IndyCar's reputation as a destination for drivers around the world is borne out in the 21-car entry list for today's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The drivers who will race on the downtown streets hail from 11 countries on five continents; nine are American. But don't be surprised to see the international stars out and about even during the offseason — most live in America now and several call Florida home, including St. Petersburg resident Sebastien Bourdais. The field and five to watch:
The four-time series champion owns 40 career victories, fourth all-time. Only A.J. Foyt (67), Mario Andretti (52) and Michael Andretti (42) won more. The only track Dixon has raced at more than 10 times and never won? St. Petersburg.
The Team Penske driver started from the front row last year in St. Petersburg, led a race-high 48 laps and finished second. Then his 2016 season really picked up: He won a series-high five races on the way to his first IndyCar championship.
The six-time pole-sitter here has won the race twice, in 2010 and 2014. Had he been able to race here last year (he would have started from the pole), he might have made the title race a lot tighter for Pagenaud, his Team Penske teammate.
The one-car entry for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has finished best among Hondas in the championship each of the past two seasons — fourth in 2015 and fifth in 2016. He owns a pole and a victory in St. Petersburg (2008).
The Florida resident usually has been terrific here (four podium finishes, tied for his most at any track) and led three laps on his way to third place last year. But he seeks his first St. Petersburg win in his 11th attempt.