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St. Petersburg will open 2011 IndyCar schedule

The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is back to being first.

The IndyCar series announced its 2011 schedule on Friday, and the race on the streets of downtown St. Petersburg is the opener, March 27.

St. Petersburg had the opening spot for the first time in 2009. This year a new race Sao Paolo opened the season, but next year the Brazil race is in May.

"It is an honor to once again be the opening date on the IZOD IndyCar series calendar," Tim Ramsberger, vice president and general manager of the St. Petersburg race, said in a statement. "In 2011 we will be the only IndyCar event in Florida, and we are looking forward to bringing the fast-paced, exciting open-wheel series back to St. Petersburg and showcasing this wonderful event and our great city for race fans from around the world."

Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of this season's finale, is not on the schedule.

There are 17 events with the most prestigious, the Indianapolis 500, scheduled May 29.

After a one-year absence, the series is returning to the historic Milwaukee Mile with a new event promoter. Milwaukee is a traditional IndyCar fixture — its first racing event, in 1903, predates even Indianapolis.

In addition to Milwaukee, events at the oval in Loudon, N.H. (Aug. 14) and a street race in Baltimore (Sept. 4) are new.

The site and date of the finale remained up in the air, but it's expected that Las Vegas will be the site.

"We'll know in the next couple of weeks," IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said.

In addition to Homestead, IndyCar dropped three other venues operated by International Speedway Corp.: Chicagoland, Kansas and Watkins Glen.

Date Site Type

March 27 St. Petersburg Street

April 10 Birmingham, Ala. Road

April 17 Long Beach, Calif. Street

May 1 Sao Paulo, Brazil Street

May 29 Indianapolis Oval

June 11 Fort Worth, Texas Oval

June 19 Milwaukee Oval

June 25 Newton, Iowa Oval

July 10 Toronto Street

July 24 Edmonton Street

Aug. 7 Lexington, Ohio Road

Aug. 14 Loudon, N.H. Oval

Aug. 28 Sonoma, Calif Road

Sept. 4 Baltimore Street

Sept. 18 Motegi, Japan Oval

Oct. 2 Sparta, Ky. Oval

Finale TBA

St. Petersburg will open 2011 IndyCar schedule 09/10/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 10, 2010 9:38pm]
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