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Motorsports roundup — March 23

Associated Press The same driver will lead the field to the green flag through the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., for the fourth consecutive year. Only Will Power will have some new faces right behind him today in the season-opening IndyCar race, with Takuma Sato and Simona de Silvestro qualifying second and third. Tristan Vautier, who will make his IndyCar debut, will start sixth. A new cast of characters didn’t surprise Power. “It’s always like that in IndyCar, you can never predict what’s going to happen,” Power said. “We don’t know who is going to win, but that is the excitement of it. We’ve never had so much depth in the field of drivers. There are no bad drivers. You go through the field and you have 20 guys there, all of these guys can win. It was evident in qualifying with five teams represented in the Fast Six and only Penske Racing putting teammates in the final group. It was Power at the top of the leaderboard, earning his fourth consecutive pole at St. Pete by posting a best lap Saturday of 1 minute, 1.2070 seconds on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit. “Good start to the year,” said the Australian, who won his 30th pole to move ahead of Dario Franchitti for seventh on the career list. Right behind Power was Sato, making his first start for A.J. Foyt Racing. Sato had never qualified higher than 11th at St. Pete before claiming a spot on the front row for the first time since Edmonton in 2011. Qualifying a career-best third was de Silvestro, who had never before even advanced to the Fast Six round of qualifications. She’s been among the fastest drivers all weekend in her debut for new team KV Racing Technology.

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