James Hinchcliffe with a new livery during the 2014 season at St. Petersburg. (Photo: Russell LaBounty/LAT Photographic)

James Hinchcliffe with a new livery during the 2014 season at St. Petersburg. (Photo: Russell LaBounty/LAT Photographic)

As far as season openers go, ’s one at St. Petersburg tomorrow is chock-full of unknowns. Everyone is curious as to how Juan Pablo Montoya will perform in his return, and as to how the grid will shake up with new entrees and engines.

Nonetheless, this weekend is already off to a familiar showing with last season’s winner at St. Pete, James Hinchcliffe, topping the opening practice session.

Britain’s Justin Wilson was less than 0.006 seconds back of Hinchcliffe, despite fracturing his pelvis in a crash during the last IndyCar race.

Takuma Sato finished opening practice in third, putting Honda-powered cars in the top three spots.

Will Power was the fastest Chevrolet-powered driver on the board, and is the only driver in the field to have won on multiple occasions at this circuit.

Farther on down the board, Carlos Munoz was the fastest of the four new rookies in the field, finishing opening practice 15th out of 22 cars, less than 0.8 seconds back of Hinchcliffe.

Only two spots above Munoz was Dixon in 13th, who knows that his performance at St. Pete is something that could dictate how the rest of the season plays out.

“For us in the past when we have come close to another three championships I think it’s always been the start of the year that has kind of hindered us,” confesses Dixon, who won the 2013 IndyCar Championship. “I think we need to focus on making a good start in the first three or four races.”

There is still plenty of time to be gained for all of the teams, as two more practice sessions and one qualifying session will take place before the race on 3 p.m. ET Sunday.

Practice 1 Results:

  1. James Hinchcliffe (27) – 1:02.9326
  2. Justin Wilson (19) – 1:02.9385
  3. Takuma Sato (14) – 1:03.0603
  4. Will Power (12) – 1:03.1932
  5. Sebastian Bourdais (11) – 1:03.1948
  6. Ryan Briscoe (8) - 1:03.2067
  7. Ryan Hunter-Reay (28) - 1:03.2684
  8. Simon Pagenaud (77) – 1:03.3087
  9. Graham Rahal (15) - 1:03.3254
  10. Tony Kanaan (10) - 1:03.3258
  11. Helio Castroneves (3) - 1:03.3998
  12. Josef Newgarden (67) - 1:03.4827
  13. Scott Dixon (9) - 1:03.6425
  14. Juan Pablo Montoya (2) – 1:03.6759
  15. Carlos Munoz (34) - 1:03.6948
  16. Mike Conway (20) - 1:03.7559
  17. Marco Andretti (25) - 1:03.7807
  18. Charlie Kimball (83) - 1:03.9023
  19. Jack Hawksworth (98) – 1:04.0541
  20. Mikhail Aleshin (7) – 1:04.1986
  21. Sebastian Saavedra (17) – 1:04.6781
  22. Carlos Huertas (18) – 1:07.7706