ST. PETERSBURG — An extensive IndyCar Series survey backed up what drivers have been saying for years: the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is one of the top races on the calendar.
The Grand Prix joined the Indianapolis 500 and races at Long Beach, Road America and Laguna Seca as the five “most important” races for fans. That’s according to the global survey of more than 53,000 fans conducted by Nielsen Sport. Its results were announced Friday during the first day of this year’s Grand Prix.
The Grand Prix was rated “significantly higher” among female fans, interestingly.
Romain Grosjean, a former Formula One driver from Switzerland, was voted IndyCar’s most popular driver followed by Pato O’Ward, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi. Team Penske was the favorite team ahead of Andretti Autosport and Arrow McLaren SP.
IndyCar drivers have not yet been on the track; their first practice is scheduled for 3:40.
The event has a 2019 feel to it, as expected. Other than hand-sanitizing stations and an occasional face mask, there are few, if any, signs of the pandemic on the grounds.
One other item of note: Carrollwood’s Glenn McGee won the pole in the Mazda MX-5 Cup series. The first race is scheduled to start at 4:40.
We’ll have more updates on the Grand Prix later today.
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