CLEARWATER — A pair of sleek Indy race cars will compete in a lightning-fast pit stop contest Friday evening on the streets of downtown Clearwater.
The cars, their drivers and pit crews are the featured attraction for this month's Fourth Friday street party. The free event will also offer live bands, hot rods on display, 60 vendor booths, a Gasparilla pirate ship, and games for kids.
The main event will be the Izod IndyCar Series Pit Stop Challenge. At the west end of downtown, on Cleveland Street next to the Harborview Center, IndyCar drivers Graham Rahal and Davey Hamilton and a pair of pit crews will compete to see which team can do the fastest pit stops.
The race cars are in town this weekend for the 2010 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
"It will basically be a mock pit stop so the fans can see what these drivers and crews do during an actual pit stop," said Michael Young, an IndyCar racing series official who's in charge of the event.
"From a dead standstill, they'll accelerate into a pit box where a crew will be waiting. They'll jack the car up and change all four tires. Then the car will do a burnout away."
A pit stop takes 6 to 8 seconds, and the teams will do it multiple times, he said.
The cars will be at the event from 6 to 7 p.m. It's intended to be an interactive experience. Fans can get drivers' autographs and ask questions of the pit crews. Some audience members will be asked to hold pit stop signs during the challenges.
"Races are won and lost in the pits, and a winner can be determined within a hundredth of a second," said John Lewis, a vice president of the IndyCar racing series.
Mike Brassfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4160.