5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Friday, March 22
9:02 AM, Mar 22, 2013
10:11 AM, Mar 22, 2013
TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Friday, March 22.
(1) CentCom Change of Command ceremony
A Change of Command ceremony for the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base will take place on Friday.
During the 10:00 a.m. ceremony, current CentCom commander Marine General James N. Mattis will relinquish command to Army General Lloyd J. Austin III, the last U.S. commander in Iraq.
Gen. Austin will oversee the drawdown of American troops currently stationed in Afghanistan. The United States is scheduled to end its combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
(2) Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg practices
IndyCar drivers participating in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will take to the downtown race track for some practice laps on Friday.
Practice sessions will be held at 11:10 a.m. and 2:40 p.m.
An additional practice session will be held on Saturday at 10:25 a.m. before the qualifying process for Sunday's race begins at 2:45 p.m. The race is scheduled to begin at noon on Sunday.
Ticket prices for today and tomorrow begin at $20.
There will be a free shuttle service from Tropicana Field to downtown for all Grand Prix events beginning today. Parking in the Tropicana Field parking lots will cost you $10. The shuttle will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
For more information on all Grand Prix activities, visit
(3) NCAA tournament games for Florida teams
The second round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament continues on Friday and the three Florida teams participating will play their first games today.
The ACC Champion University of Miami Hurricanes are the #2 seed in the East Region. They will play the 15th-seeded University of Pacific Tigers at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center in Austin, Texas. Game time is 2:10 p.m.
Florida Gulf Coast is playing in their first NCAA tournament this year. The Eagles, who are the 15th seed in the South Region, will play the second seeded Georgetown Hoyas at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Game time is 6:50 p.m.
The Gators are also playing in Austin today. Florida is the number 3 seed in the South Region. Billy Donovan's team will play the 14th-seeded Northwestern State Demons. Game time is 7:27 p.m.