Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Grand Prix of St. Petersburg postponed until Monday

Fans crowd near the entrance to a bridge across the track, on their way out after severe weather postponed the IndyCar race.


Fans crowd near the entrance to a bridge across the track, on their way out after severe weather postponed the IndyCar race.

ST. PETERSBURG — IndyCar drivers pride themselves on racing in the rain, but the volume of water standing on the downtown course of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was substantial enough that Sunday's IndyCar race was postponed to 10 a.m. today.

"While our cars are equipped to run in the rain, we take the safety of our teams, event workers and fans very seriously," said Brian Barnhart, the Indy Racing League's president of competition and racing operations. "We just felt (postponement) was in the best interest of everybody."

Even if heavy afternoon rain had subsided before the race's scheduled 3:45 p.m. start, as much as 6 inches of standing water was along the course, Barnhart said.

"I took a pace car ride around with (drivers) Dario Franchitti and Graham (Rahal)," he said. "Graham stopped the car. He wanted to take a picture of it because the water was up so far. The challenge is going to be moving that water around and how much more we get (Sunday night)."

The postponement came after fans had been moved indoors for two hours as a safety precaution after race organizers issued a severe weather advisory.

Admission today is free (general admission was $42 for adults Sunday), though to sit in the grandstands, tickets or stubs will be needed. The race will be shown on ESPN2.

"The biggest disappointment is for the fans," driver Ryan Hunter-Reay said. "This is probably the best turnout for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg we've ever had, so to have them all out here and have them go home and come back out (today) is a disappointment for us."

Having the race today creates unanticipated traffic problems downtown. Mayor Bill Foster said the level of police and security staffing will be the same for event safety and traffic control in and out of downtown.

Asked about additional expenses associated with that, Foster said, "A lot of that will be sorted out. I don't see that as being an additional strain on the city's budget."

Albert Whitted Airport, which has a runway used as a straightaway on the race course, is still expected to re-open as scheduled Thursday.

"We have some challenges to work out that we didn't anticipate," Foster said. "It's not what anyone wanted, but certainly those of us here in the city of St. Pete, we're committed to this race."

Four of Sunday's five scheduled races were completed before the postponement.

The IndyCar series hadn't had a race postponed since 2008 in Japan, when Danica Patrick picked up her only IRL win after waiting a day. Two years ago, the St. Petersburg race started with rain but was completed as scheduled.

Australian driver Will Power, who won the IndyCar season opener in Brazil two weeks ago, has the pole for today's race after posting the fastest time in Saturday's qualifying. The race is still scheduled for 100 laps, but if it begins under wet conditions, it will be limited to two hours.

Heavy rain was expected to continue until the middle of Sunday night, but organizers were optimistic they could get the standing water to a safe level in time for a 10 a.m. start.

Park-and-ride services from Tropicana Field, in place Sunday, will not be available today.

Times staff writer Greg Auman can be reached at and (813) 226-3346.

Grand Prix of St. Petersburg postponed until Monday 03/28/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 29, 2010 2:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Arm problems in the past, USF rides pitching into AAC baseball tournament


    TAMPA — By his second relief inning in last year's season opener, USF right-hander Ryan Valdes had lost the fizz on his fastball.

    USF senior right-hander Ryan Valdes, an Alonso High alumnus, is one of three prominent Bulls pitchers flourishing after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. [USF Athletics]
  2. Ryan Fitzpatrick likes Bucs weapons, believes he's a good fit


    Ryan Fitzpatrick’s experience playing for six other NFL teams is what made him attractive to the Bucs as a backup to starter Jameis Winston. But if he has to play, the former Jets quarterback is happy about all the weapons on Tampa Bay’s offense.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick is happy about all the weapons on Tampa Bay’s offense.
  3. For starters: Rays vs. Angels and Trout, with Odorizzi on mound


    After losing Sunday's game but winning a third straight series, the Rays open a four-game series tonight against the Angels and Mike Trout.

    RHP Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, RHP J.C. Ramirez for the Angels.

    Evan Longoria is getting a DH day, so the Rays have rookie Daniel …

    Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays.
  4. Lightning's Swedes live their dream in Worlds


    You could see it in his face.

    Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman screamed as he hoisted the World Championship trophy Sunday afternoon in Cologne, Germany, and it looked like an exhale that was years in the making. Stralman kissed the forehead of Swedish teammate Joel Lundqvist, the joy unmistakable.

    Victor Hedman of Sweden celebrate with his teammates after scoring the opening goal in the gold-medal game against Canada.
  5. Starting at top: O.J. Howard becomes first Bucs rookie to sign


    The Bucs have begun the process of signing their rookie draft picks and they started at the top.

    Alabama tight end O.J. Howard has signed a four-year contract with a fifth-year club option with the Bucs.