Dean of Speed's IndyCar Preview

The Dean of Speed expects drivers Will Power (above) and Scott Dixon to battle for the IndyCar...

The Dean of Speed expects drivers Will Power (above) and Scott Dixon to battle for the IndyCar title in 2014. (Chris Trotma/AFP)

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:39 PM ET

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - It has been 136 days— almost five months — since the newly labelled Verizon IndyCar Series last laid rubber on a race track in earnest.

That is the longest off-season of any major motorsports series. NASCAR has five races in the books already, Formula 1 will do its second race of the season Sunday and Moto GP started its season a week ago.

So the 22 drivers who will line up Friday morning for practice at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg are, to say the least, raring to go.

And they will face a different rules package this season.

Gone is the ten grid positions penalty that IndyCar had last season when a team changed engines, even when that engine blew up all on its own.

Also new this year are safety modifications to the Dallara DW12 chassis.


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