The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg’s festivities will include special roles for World Golf Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam and country music star Trace Adkins.
Sorenstam, an Orlando resident, will serve as the event’s grand marshal and give the command for drivers to start their engines, the Grand Prix announced Thursday. The LPGA tournament The Annika driven by Gainbridge at Pelican will take place in November. Its $3.25 million purse is one of the largest on the LPGA Tour. Sorenstam won 72 LPGA Tour events and 10 major titles.
“I’m excited to be the grand marshal of the first IndyCar race of the year in St. Petersburg to help kick off both the racing season and Women’s History Month,” Sorenstam said in a statement. “For my entire life, golf has been a vehicle that’s helped shape me on and off the course. I can’t wait to see the cars speed around a different type of course through downtown St. Pete!”
Adkins is set to sing the national anthem. He has sold more than 11 million albums and is known for his songs “Ladies Love Country Boys,” “You’re Gonna Miss This” and “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.”
“It is always a distinct honor to perform our national anthem at any event, but it’s an extra thrill to kick off the start of the Firestone Grand Prix,” Adkins said. “As a longtime auto racing fan, I look forward to attending the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.”
The Grand Prix is March 3-5 at the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course downtown. Festivities begin March 2 with a 5K race on the track and IndyCar’s kickoff party at North Straub Park. The main event, the IndyCar Series season opener, is 12:30 p.m. March 5 and will air on NBC.
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