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Young auto racing fan takes on Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Even though the race isn’t back to normal standards, Jocelyn Finston’s love for racing — and the Grand Prix — hasn’t diminished.
Jocelyn Finston, left, with her mother, Kimberly, in front of the racing paddock at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. This year marks Finston's fourth race in St. Pete.
Jocelyn Finston, left, with her mother, Kimberly, in front of the racing paddock at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. This year marks Finston's fourth race in St. Pete. [ Mari Faiello ]
Published Apr. 24
Updated Apr. 24

ST. PETERSBURG — Jocelyn Finston knew exactly where she wanted to be this weekend at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Standing outside the IndyCar paddock in her navy blue Alexander Rossi T-shirt, Finston patiently waited with her mother, Kimberly, for her favorite drivers to exit so they could add their personal touch to one of her signature-filled Honda baseball caps.

Related: Dan Wheldon’s sons signed by Andretti Autosport as junior drivers

Finston, 11 of Boca Raton, had been to three previous St. Pete races. She loves the “vrooms” and roars from the track that echo across downtown. She also gets excited about seeing her favorite drivers in person.

Even with limited attendance — 20,000 fans are allowed each day this year — Finston said walking around had a familiar feeling to it.

“It definitely feels more normal (this year),” Finston said. “(My favorite part) is watching the cars go vroom, vroom.”

Related: Why NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson wanted to be a Grand Prix of St. Petersburg rookie

Finston enjoys being around people who share a passion for auto racing and says it helps not having to just watch on television.

Finston’s affection for the auto racing began with Formula 1, then she graduated to NASCAR and continued with IndyCar. And she’ll be right in the action for Sunday’s final race, too.

“I don’t know (who’s going to win),” she said. “But I want Rossi to win.”

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Through Sunday. Gates at intersections of First Avenue SE and First Street SE; Second Street S and Fifth Avenue S

IndyCar race: 12:42 p.m. Sunday. TV: NBC

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.