IndyCar Racing
Dario Survives Early Carnage At St. Pete
By Andrew Cutler
March 28 2011

Okay; I know that it everyone was excited to get racing again after more than four months off, but 'over-eagerness' turned the early stages of the IndyCar Series season opener at St. Petersburg into amateur hour! The first attempt to make it into Turn One after the drop of the green flag left several cars punted, spun or otherwise damaged - and Marco Andretti's car was upside down! 

Double file restarts - new to IndyCar for 2011 - made the first few attempts to get going again just as messy: I suspect that INDYCAR officals will be revisiting that idea between now and the next event.

After about the 1/4 race mark, the drivers finally settled down, and a fairly decent race ensued. Polesittier Will Power dropped back to fifth in the early going (his car suffered minor aero/body damage in the opening laps), but made his way back to 2nd. Dario Franchitti held the lead for most of the race, and was never seriously challenged.

The most exiciting contest of the day was between Tony Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro, over the third spot. In the end, the wiley veteran was just able to hold off the sophmore driver. Afterwards, TK gave Simona high marks for her efforts. "She did a great job and made me run for my money." 

Takuma Sato finished fifth.

Here are the complete race results: http://www.indycar.com/schedule/raceresults/55-izod-indycar-series/139/2333-honda-grand-prix-of-st-petersburg/

Earlier in the day, Sam Schmidt Motorsports notched yet another one-two finish in the Firestone Indy Lights Series season opener as Josef Newgarden held off teammate Conor Daly for the win.

Next up for the IndyCar Series will be the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday, April 10, at 3pm ET/8pm GMT.

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Apologies for not getting this recap posted earlier, but there were issues with SN's server last night!