the weekend COUNTDOWN

5

Questions for Gym Class Heroes

The Fall Out Boy protoges and Video Music Award winners are the headlining band at this year's race. They'll play at noon Sunday on the XM Stage in the Honda Plaza, outside the Mahaffey Theater. Admission is free with a race ticket (see Page 38 for details). Tbt* caught up with drummer Matt McGinley.

You're called the Gym Class Heroes. So I'm guessing you must all be awesome athletes.

That's not very accurate. I'm really good at tennis, though, I will say that. And I like to play basketball, too. But I don't think anybody's super athletically inclined.

If you could be a world-class driver or an NBA star, which would you pick?

Racing is awesome, and I like to get down when I'm on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey, but I don't know if I've got a sharp enough eye to do it professionally and not kill myself. So I think the less hazardous choice for me would be basketball.

Is this the first time you've played a race?

Yeah, definitely. It's with cars, right? For sure. I'm really excited. I think we have another show that day, and I like crazy days like that. We're playing the Grand Prix during the day, and we fly right out afterwards to play a (private) show in D.C. That sort of chaos, makes for a more epic and emotional show, when you're like, Am I even gonna make it to the show on time? That should be a pretty cool day for all of us.

Has your tour bus ever been pulled over for speeding?

No. We're lucky to have really good drivers out with us right now. Our driver — we call him Uncle Vic — is a super, super good driver. I like it when they drive slow. I don't care if we get to the venue two hours late. It's important to find a driver where you can sleep while they're driving, and you can sleep well. You have to go to bed every night.

What's the worst driving infraction you've ever had?

Oh my god. I was driving in New York City, and there are a lot of bike messengers flying everywhere, and I actually nailed one of them with the back of my trailer when we had a show there once. I didn't really mess him up too bad; it just kind of tweaked his bike. I got out, and I'm like, What am I going to say to this guy? And he walks up to me, and he's like, "I'm so sorry, man, I didn't see you!" And I'm like, "Uh ... yeah! You should look next time, man!" I was pretty happy to get out of that one without at least a felony charge.

4

Spots to eat (and drink) near the track

The Moon Under Water and Paciugo (Page 39) are great, but St. Pete has many more great places to chow down. Here are four of our favorite spots within three blocks of the race track. For more, search for "Downtown St. Petersburg" at food.tampabay.com.

Ceviche You can't get any closer to the track than the deck at Ceviche — this tapas bar's deck overlooks the track. But the real reason to check out Ceviche is a massive menu of flavorful Spanish cuisine, from shellfish to oxtail to braised lamb shanks. 95 Central Ave. (727) 209-2299.

Z Grille Chef Zack Gross's shrine to SoCal cuisine puts a West Coast spin spin on stylish Southwestern dishes, especially the delish fish tacos and burritos. 269 Central Ave., (727) 896-3101

Joey Brooklyn's Famous Pizza Hey, sometimes you just want a slice of pizza. If so, you can't go wrong with Joey Brooklyn's, a local fave for the late-night munchies. 210 First Ave. N. (727) 822-6757.

The Independent This stylish bar may look sleek, but it's a beer lover's paradise, with rare imports like Delerium and Kolsch on tap. It's a little pricey, but worth it. 29 Third St. N. (727) 820-9514.

3

Celebrities who might be in town

Alas, Dario Franchitti left IndyCar for the greener pastures of NASCAR, so we're unlikely to see wife Ashley Judd roaming the pits in St. Pete. Still, a few stars always manage to make their way here for the race. Team owners David Letterman and Patrick Dempsey won't be here this weekend, but here's who else could be.

Miss America Kirsten Haglund, Miss America 2008, is this year's Grand Marshal, meaning she'll be the one who tells audiences to "start your engines." Haglund is from Michigan, so there's sort of an auto connection there, we guess. Want to meet her? She'll be signing autographs at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday.

Paul Newman Butch Cassidy himself was a race regular back when the Grand Prix was a Champ Car event. But he hasn't been back since the series' split from IndyCar. Now that the two sides have kissed and made up, Newman might show up to cheer on drivers Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal.

Gene Simmons Indy hired the Kiss frontman's marketing firm to pump up its image, and he often makes the rounds at open-wheel races. Tbt* caught up with Simmons and Letterman in the pit last year; check out the video at entertainment.tampabay.com.

2

Racing scions on the brink of a breakout

Marco Andretti The 21-year-old heir to America's First Family of speed just turned legal. He already has a series victory and an open invitation to the Playboy Mansion. Spring break can be tough on a young man.

Graham Rahal Some see the 19-year-old Rahal as even more talented than Marco. He's one of the newcomers from the now-defunct Champ Car (remember when that series staged the St. Petersburg Grand Prix?) and makes his IndyCar debut in St. Pete. His dad, Bobby, is the former open-wheel champ and Indy 500 winner who owns Rahal-Letterman Racing. Graham runs for Newman/Haas/Lanigan. You may have heard of that (Paul) Newman guy.

Questions for Gym Class Heroes

The Fall Out Boy protoges and Video Music Award winners are the headlining band at this year's race. They'll play at noon Sunday on the XM Stage in the Honda Plaza, outside the Mahaffey Theater. Admission is free with a race ticket (see Page 38 for details). Tbt* caught up with drummer Matt McGinley.

You're called the Gym Class Heroes. So I'm guessing you must all be awesome athletes.

That's not very accurate. I'm really good at tennis, though, I will say that. And I like to play basketball, too. But I don't think anybody's super athletically inclined.

If you could be a world-class driver or an NBA star, which would you pick?

Racing is awesome, and I like to get down when I'm on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey, but I don't know if I've got a sharp enough eye to do it professionally and not kill myself. So I think the less hazardous choice for me would be basketball.

Is this the first time you've played a race?

Yeah, definitely. It's with cars, right? For sure. I'm really excited. I think we have another show that day, and I like crazy days like that. We're playing the Grand Prix during the day, and we fly right out afterwards to play a (private) show in D.C. That sort of chaos makes for a more epic and emotional show, when you're like, Am I even gonna make it to the show on time? That should be a pretty cool day for all of us.

Has your tour bus ever been pulled over for speeding?

No. We're lucky to have really good drivers out with us right now. Our driver — we call him Uncle Vic — is a super, super good driver. I like it when they drive slow. I don't care if we get to the venue two hours late. It's important to find a driver where you can sleep while they're driving, and you can sleep well. You have to go to bed every night.

What's the worst driving infraction you've ever had?

Oh my god. I was driving in New York City, and there are a lot of bike messengers flying everywhere, and I actually nailed one of them with the back of my trailer when we had a show there once. I didn't really mess him up too bad; it just kind of tweaked his bike. I got out, and I'm like, What am I going to say to this guy? And he walks up to me, and he's like, "I'm so sorry, man, I didn't see you!" And I'm like, "Uh ... yeah! You should look next time, man!" I was pretty happy to get out of that one without at least a felony charge.



5

Spots to eat (and drink) NEAR THE TRACK

Moon Under Water and Paciugo (Page 39) are great, but St. Pete has many more great places to chow down. Here are four of our favorite spots within three blocks of the race track. For more, search for "Downtown St. Petersburg" at food.tampabay.com.

• Ceviche You can't get any closer to the track than Ceviche — this tapas bar's deck overlooks the track. But the real reason to check out Ceviche is a massive menu of flavorful Spanish cuisine, from shellfish to oxtail to braised lamb shanks. 95 Central Ave. (727) 209-2299.

• Z Grille Chef Zack Gross's shrine to SoCal cuisine puts a West Coast spin on stylish Southwestern dishes, especially the delish fish tacos and burritos. 269 Central Ave., (727) 896-3101.

• Joey Brooklyn's Famous Pizza Hey, sometimes you just want a slice of pizza. If so, you can't go wrong with Joey Brooklyn's, a local fave for the late-night munchies. 210 First Ave. N. (727) 822-6757.

•The Independent This stylish bar may look sleek, but it's a beer lover's paradise, with rare imports like Delerium and Kolsch on tap. It's a little pricey, but worth it. 29 Third St. N. (727) 820-9514.

Celebs who might be

in town

Alas, Dario Franchitti left IndyCar for the greener pastures of NASCAR, so we're unlikely to see wife Ashley Judd roaming the pits in St. Pete. Still, a few stars always manage to make their way here for the race. Team owners David Letterman and Patrick Dempsey won't be here this weekend, but here's who else could be.

• Miss America Kirsten Haglund, Miss America 2008, is this year's Grand Marshal, meaning she'll be the one who tells drivers to "start your engines." Haglund is from Michigan, so there's sort of an auto connection there, we guess. Want to meet her? She'll be signing autographs at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday.

• Paul Newman Butch Cassidy himself drove here in 1987 when the Grand Prix was a sports-car event, and he was here as an owner in 2003 when it was an open-wheel race. Now that Champ Car and IndyCar have kissed and made up, Newman might show up to cheer on his drivers Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal.

• Gene Simmons Indy hired the Kiss frontman's marketing firm to pump up its image, and he often makes the rounds. Tbt* caught up with Simmons and David Letterman in the pits last year; check out the video at blogs.tampabay.com/juice (click on "Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.")

Racing scions on the brink

of a breakout

• Graham Rahal Some think the 19-year-old may be more talented than Marco Andretti. He's one of the newcomers from now-defunct Champ Car and makes his IndyCar debut in St. Pete. His dad, Bobby, is the former Indy 500 champ and co-owner of Rahal-Letterman Racing. Graham, though, runs for another team — Newman/Haas/Lanigan. Uh, you may have heard of that Newman guy.

• Marco Andretti (below) The 21-year-old heir to America's First Family of Speed just turned legal. He already has one IndyCar victory and an open invitation to the Playboy Mansion. Spring break can be tough on a young man.

Final word on the Grand Prix from danica patrick

"As a driver, it would be rewarding to have (my first win) come on a road course. You have to be very good as a driver to win on road courses. The speed is really reliant on you. But I don't really care, at the end of the day. The sooner the better."

5

the weekend COUNTDOWN 04/03/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 11:51am]

    

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