AFTER FOUR MONTHS of idling, IndyCar goes green for a new season on March 13, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Joining the grid on the 1.8-mile street course will be five young, well-traveled rookies eager to make their marks in America's premier open-wheel series. A quick take on a fast bunch.
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Chip Ganassi Racing
Dale Coyne Racing
17 Indy Lights starts, two more in Formula E
35 F1 starts
Six IndyCar starts, three in relief in '15
'15 Indy Lights champion (six wins, 10 podiums)
Five F1 starts
Australian granddad Jack won three F1 crowns, the last for his own team
Set an F1 record in '13 by becoming the first rookie to finish every start
Irish father, Derek, was an F1 pilot
Pulls for Man U, plays in a Circle City indoor soccer league
Technically America's top driver by virtue of being the only native to hold an F1 permit
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR ODDS
4 to 1: Chevy power should make the USF2000 series champion in '12 a consistent threat on road courses.
2 to 1: Ganassi is a fast company, with powerful Chevys and Scott Dixon, who won a fourth series championship in '15.
Even: An improved Honda aero package should make him quicker at Indy (where he DNF'd with mechanical issues) and elsewhere.
8 to 1: Racing a partial schedule, but a great Indy (where teammate Graham Rahal took fifth in '15) would be a major boost.
5 to 2: Road course--savvy, he'll have owner Michael Andretti (another F1 vet) to get him up to speed on oval racing.
THEY SAID IT
"THE ENTIRE EPISODE MARKS YET ANOTHER DARK CHAPTER IN THE WAY THE MUSTACHED AMERICAN COMMUNITY CAN OFTEN BE TREATED."
Adam Paul Causgrove
President and chairman of the American Mustache Institute, reacting to Marlins manager Don Mattingly's vow to enforce the team's no-facial-hair mandate.
PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (ROSSI)
JEFF ROBERSON/AP (MATTINGLY)