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)

IndyCar leader says St. Petersburg race secure

ST. PETERSBURG — A few weeks after a report suggested that IndyCar could abandon the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the series' leader said the race's future wasn't in doubt.

"I think it's secure and really kind of a pillar of our season," said Mark Miles, the CEO of Hulman & Co., which owns IndyCar. "I hope we'll have some more specific announcement about that before long."

In June, the city council unanimously approved a three-year extension to keep the race here through 2017.

But a report from the Boston Consulting Group that was leaked to the Associated Press this month left St. Petersburg off of a proposed 15-race schedule. Miami and Atlanta were instead listed as possible sites.

Miles, who took over after the 2012 season, is charged with boosting the series' fan base. One idea is to make the world's fastest racing series even faster.

The Indianapolis 500 speed record of 237.498 mph has stood since 1996. Miles would like to see Arie Luyendyk's record fall, as long as safety isn't compromised.

"Let's think about how we can incrementally manage increases of speed and safety," Miles said. "Not stay where we are, but make steady directional improvement. I think that's a big hook for the public. You can't do one without the other."

Team Penske owner Roger Penske said he supports boosting innovation but not if it becomes too costly for team owners already struggling financially. Most fans, Penske said, wouldn't see a change from the stands and would only notice the faster speeds if they looked on the video board.

"They wouldn't know the difference between 220 (mph) and 230," Penske said.

CLIMBING THE LADDER: Though a handful of established IndyCar drivers got their starts in the Road to Indy ladder system, the feeder series seem to have taken a step back.

Only nine drivers competed in Saturday's Indy Lights race. That's down from 16 drivers each of the past three seasons. And there were just 12 cars racing Saturday in the next series down the ladder, Pro Mazda.

James Hinchcliffe said too many rising stars are trying their luck in Europe instead of moving up in IndyCar.

"It's unbelievable," said Hinchcliffe, who finished second in the 2010 Indy Lights series to snag a full-time ride and is now at Andretti Autosport. "It's shocking how short-sighted some of these young drivers are that they can't see such an incredible opportunity …

"It's nuts. I just don't get it."

Penske has been active in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide series but hasn't dipped into Indy Lights. Penske said he proposed sparking the series by having up-and-coming drivers race old IndyCars instead of different, slower models.

"Then you've got people who really are driving the same kind of car that you have," Penske said. "That was an idea that I threw out that didn't even bounce."

VISO WRECKS: Andretti Autosport's E.J. Viso halted Saturday morning's practice with a wreck.

The suspension broke on Viso's No. 5 Chevy, sending the Venezuelan into the right wall near the entrance to Turn 10. He was not injured and qualified 22nd.

THIS AND THAT: Power's 30th career pole moved him past Dario Franchitti for eighth-most in series history. … St. Petersburg resident Sebastien Bourdais qualified 21st. … Three-time Grand Prix winner Helio Castroneves will start fifth — the same position he did last year when he took the checkered flag.

Matt Baker can be reached at or on Twitter @MattHomeTeam.

IndyCar leader says St. Petersburg race secure 03/23/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 23, 2013 9:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Jays, looking for some carryover


    The six runs and 13 hits the Rays posted on Tuesday were a positive, but the true test if they are out of their historically bad hitting slump will come tonight and in the coming days as they try to build on their success.

    "Hopefully,'' manager Kevin Cash said after Tuesday's 6-4 win, "there is a …

  2. What you might have missed in the second episode of the Bucs on 'Hard Knocks'


    We're back for another episode of The Annotated Hard Knocks, trying to find behind-the-scenes insights and things you might have missed in Tuesday's second episode of "Hard Knocks," following the Bucs in …

    As the crowd recognized him and got loud, Jameis Winston jumped up and down in celebration. [GREG AUMAN | Times]
  3. Why Noah Spence could be the Bucs' X-factor


    JACKSONVILLE — Noah Spence crouched in a four-point stance, bending low like a sprinter in starting blocks. At the snap, he took one step to his right, startling Jaguars left tackle Josh Wells with his explosiveness. Wells went for the move and Spence countered with an inside swim move, flying past Wells' right …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Noah Spence (57) participates in training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  4. Lefty quarterback's task? Make sure nothing's lost in translation


    GAINESVILLE — When Florida receiver Brandon Powell first met new quarterback Malik Zaire this summer, he was struck by the Notre Dame grad transfer's enthusiasm and outgoing personality.

    Florida quarterback Malik Zaire talks with the press during the NCAA college football team's media day in Gainesville. Zaire is a lefty quarterback, just like Tim Tebow. (Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun via AP, File)
  5. Nikita Kucherov in a wide-ranging Q&A


    While Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov has a tendency to be quiet around the media, he's a Russian with a variety of interests and a passionate hockey mind.

    Nikita Kucherov recently did a Q&A with Russia's, in which he addressed an array of topics.