Hawksworth Leads Rain-Shortened Friday in St. Petersburg

* Opening day for 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season
* Hawksworth, Hinchcliffe pace the Honda field
* First race for Honda HI15RTT V6 engine and Honda aero kits

The Verizon IndyCar Series opened its 2015 season Friday on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, running a single 90-minute practice prior to afternoon showers canceling the second scheduled session. Two familiar Honda drivers, both with new teams for 2015, led the way for the manufacturer today with Jack Hawksworth ending the day sixth fastest for A.J. Foyt Racing, and James Hinchcliffe just behind, seventh overall, in his debut with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Today’s activities marked the official competition debut of the twin-turbocharged Honda HI15RTT V6 Indy engine, and manufacturer-specific bodywork, known as aero kits, new to Indy car for 2015.

Activities continue Saturday with a final practice session, followed by “Fast Six” knockout qualifying that will set the 24-car field for Sunday’s 110-lap race. The opening round of the 16-race 2015 season starts at 3 p.m. Sunday, with live television coverage on ABC.

Allen Miller (Race Team Leader, Honda Performance Development) on today’s opening practice: “This is a very different race car from last season, and we still have much to learn, along with our teams. It’s a shame we could not get in more running time this afternoon, both for the fans and ourselves, as our knowledge grows with every lap we complete. But the weather forecast for the rest of the weekend is excellent, and we should have an exciting qualifying session tomorrow and race on Sunday.”