PALMETTO, Fla. - We are now just less than a month away from the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg. So on this day, race organizers held a media day to get everyone's motors running for the big race.
The day came with what you might expect: The media, speeches, polite clapping, cars and talk of the cars.
But on a day we were just suppose to have some fun racing go-carts around a track at the Andersen RacePark in Palmetto, I didn't expect how intense the celebrity Indy Car drivers, Justin Wilson and Alex Tagliani were when it came to wanting to win.
Wilson would talk about how the go-carts could be hard to handle for someone of larger stature while Tagliani would talk strategy and emphasize maintaining a fluidity when it came to racing around the track.
But when you think of it, that is what has made the Honda Grand Prix of St Pete one of the stand-out events in the Tampa Bay area in just nine years. The intensity of all those involved, from organizers, to drivers, to the fans.
"The fan reaction is great," Grand Prix President Tim Ramsberger would say, "People take pride in this race." While Indy driver Wilson would agree, saying, "We come here and it's a good atmosphere. It's a good track. It's challenging."
So I took in that challenge and that atmosphere today, and raced for station and pride. And in the end, how did I do? I won… 3rd place.
Still, not a bad Wednesday at work.