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Grand Prix of St. Petersburg president leaves for Andretti job

The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will go on in March without its longtime president.

Tim Ramsberger resigned Friday as the race's president to take a position with Andretti Sports Marketing.

"I think it's a great opportunity and probably just a better opportunity for growth for me professionally long term," said Ramsberger, who has been one of the event's leaders for a decade.

The company that owns and promotes the race doesn't expect his absence to change the event's future dramatically. Kevin Savoree has been leading the event since its start and said he and co-owner Kim Green will remain in charge of its operations. Contracts are in place with sponsors and the city through 2017, and Savoree said his group continues to work on ways to improve the next race weekend, scheduled for March 27-29.

"We'll be putting on great shows for the next several years," said Savoree, the owner and president of Green Savoree Racing Promotions.

Both Savoree and Ramsberger said the IndyCar Series race remains healthy.

Savoree said the product on and off the track has been strong, and Ramsberger said the 2014 weekend had its largest attendance and economic impact since its first IndyCar race in 2005.

"I'm pretty pleased to be able to walk out knowing the event has reached probably its highest point in the past 10 years," said Ramsberger, 52.

Under a company headed by IndyCar team owner Michael Andretti, Ramsberger will be analyzing and evaluating how the company can manage its rapid growth and how it should manage its current projects toward the future.

Although he will not be connected with the race, Ramsberger will remain in his hometown of St. Petersburg and will continue helping at his wife's company, Pelican Sports and Entertainment, which promoted the AVP beach volleyball event in St. Petersburg this summer.

"I thank Tim for his leadership, and for helping make the Sunshine City such a special place," Mayor Rick Kriseman said in a statement. "I wish Tim well as he begins a new chapter at Andretti Sports Marketing."

Chris Steinocher, St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, said Ramsberger's leadership will be missed.

"That's a long time in one seat," Steinocher said. "He did a great job for this community."

The Grand Prix means a lot to the city and Steinocher said he's "cautiously optimistic" for the race's future leadership.

"It helps keep us on that national state on a regular basis, shows off our waterfront, allows us to dream big," he said. "We're just hitting our stride with the Grand Prix."

Times staff writer Charlie Frago contributed to this report. Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

Grand Prix of St. Petersburg president leaves for Andretti job 08/05/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 5, 2014 8:30pm]
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