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)


Promoters for Grand Prix of St. Petersburg want to stay

READY FOR RAIN: With a 50 percent chance of rain today, these Firestone rain tires might be used for the first time here.


READY FOR RAIN: With a 50 percent chance of rain today, these Firestone rain tires might be used for the first time here.

ST. PETERSBURG — Grand Prix managing director Kevin Savoree will use the weekend to broach a new long-term contract with city officials. Sunday's Indy Racing League event is the first under a two-year extension invoked by Andretti Green Promotions and the city last year, and Savoree wants to secure a venue that now defers only to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in terms of popularity with teams.

"As an annual event, you only get a couple shots at this to really start talking about the future," Savoree said. "(Sponsors) like continuity, they like long-term, they like partnership and you can't do that one year at a time. Any organization will fail if their planning is only one year out. You have to have a long-term perspective, so certainly for us, we want to talk to the city about going out into the future."

But the Rays' plans for a $450-million ballpark on the site of Al Lang Field would have a major impact on the race course and its staging areas. Savoree said the ballpark "is going to have to be" part of his discussions. Rays officials have yet to contact AGP, though Mayor Rick Baker, a race proponent, has become an informal intermediary.

"I have talked to both the Rays and the Grand Prix about the proposal situation and I think both of them understand my position and that however the proposal is ultimately structured, if it's going to get my support, it's going to have to mean that the Grand Prix continues to succeed and thrive," he said.

Savoree said "it's our absolute 100 percent desire to own and promote this race. If the city lets us know something else, that will be their decision."

PRACTICE: Two-time defending Grand Prix winner Helio Castroneves led Friday's practice with a best lap of 1 minute, 3.3068 seconds in the second session around the 1.8-mile course. Slick conditions contributed to six drivers, four of whom have raced here before, either spinning or brushing barriers. So did the presence of eight more cars than entered in the 2007 IndyCar race, Castroneves said. Tony Kanaan, who has finished third or better in every Grand Prix here, was next (1:03.3680) and Justin Wilson was fourth, best among former Champ Car drivers. Wilson topped the first practice session in 1:03.5210.

TREAD CAREFULLY: IndyCar teams might need to use special street course rain tires for the first time today in practice or qualifying; the forecast at calls for a 50 percent chance of rain. Firestone produces two types of rain tires, which have treads like their passenger car counterparts. The IRL, which contested its first street race in St. Petersburg in 2005, used rain tires for the first time last year at Watkins Glen. Speeds decrease and traction becomes an issue, but the race can be held in rain. The problem, said IRL senior technical director Les Mactaggart, is a partially dry course. Rain tires need moisture to keep them cool and degrade in as few as four laps without it.

Promoters for Grand Prix of St. Petersburg want to stay 04/04/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 7, 2008 12:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip


    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  5. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games


    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.