Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Auto Racing

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg can host 20,000 fans next month

The event will have the same capacity as it did in October because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ronnie Jerger, 12, of Madeira Beach, fist bumps IndyCar Dale Coyne Racing driver Santino Ferrucci (18), right of United States, right, ahead of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, October 25, 2020.
Ronnie Jerger, 12, of Madeira Beach, fist bumps IndyCar Dale Coyne Racing driver Santino Ferrucci (18), right of United States, right, ahead of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, October 25, 2020. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Mar. 4
Updated Mar. 4

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will host up to 20,000 fans per day next month under guidelines unanimously approved Thursday by the City Council. That’s the same attendance cap that the annual event had in October because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The race usually serves as the IndyCar Series’ season opener and was originally scheduled for this weekend. But event organizers pushed it back to April 23-25 to try to give more fans the opportunity to attend. St. Petersburg will now host IndyCar’s second race of the season, one week after the Grand Prix of Alabama.

“This is an important event for our local economy and will again serve to showcase and elevate the Sunshine City on the world stage,” Mayor Rick Kriseman said in a statement. “I am confident that the protocols in place will allow for a safe, fun race weekend in St. Pete.”

The race held annually downtown since 2005, will have the same health protocols as it did in the fall, including temperature checks and mandatory masks/face coverings. Grandstand seating is limited to allow for social distancing.

“We are thankful for the support of Mayor Rick Kriseman, City Council, the City’s entire event team and Pinellas County for putting their faith in us again to operate this event and assisting us with our plan to host it ‘The St. Pete Way’ with the proper precautions in place,” said Kim Green, one of the Grand Prix’s co-owners.

Fans who had three-day tickets last year can exclusively renew their tickets until March 15. Tickets go on sale to the public on March 18.

Josef Newgarden is the race’s two-time defending winner. The main race is scheduled to start at 12:30 on April 25 and be televised on NBC.

Team Penske has dominated the Grand Prix. Josef Newgarden has won each of the last two races, including the rescheduled championship race in October.
Team Penske has dominated the Grand Prix. Josef Newgarden has won each of the last two races, including the rescheduled championship race in October. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

“On behalf of the entire Green Savoree Racing Promotions team, thank you to the staff at Penske Entertainment and the NTT IndyCar Series and of course, Mayor Kriseman and his great team at the City, and St. Pete City Council for all their hard work in making this rescheduled date happen,” race co-owner Kevin Savoree said.

“We’re looking forward to the last weekend in April for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. And, especially we greatly appreciate the patience of our fans as we work through all the planning. Let’s go!”

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

HOW CORONAVIRUS IS SPREADING IN FLORIDA: Find the latest numbers for your county, city or zip code.

VACCINES Q & A: Have coronavirus vaccine questions? We have answers, Florida.

FACE MASKS: Two masks are better than one, according to CDC

GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information.

THE CORONAVIRUS SCRAPBOOK: We collected your stories, pictures, songs, recipes, journals and more to show what life has been like during the pandemic.

A TRIBUTE TO THE FLORIDIANS TAKEN BY THE CORONAVIRUS: They were parents and retirees, police officer and doctors, imperfect but loved deeply.

HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.