NewsRegion South PinellasSt Petersburg


Firestone Grand Prix expected to bring $40+ million impact to St. Pete

Race is back to open capacity in 2022
Grand Prix Merchandise
Posted at 4:04 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 17:58:15-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Drivers, start your engines! The Firestone Grand Prix is back in St. Peterburg, transforming city streets into a fast-paced racetrack.

The 2022 race is the first since the pandemic began that the Firestone Grand Prix is welcoming back a full crowd and the impact it’s having on St. Pete is unmistakable.

From the roar of engines to the zip of race cars, there is a distinct buzz in St. Pete.

At Adventures in Paradise retail shop, Madelyn Schnettler is excited to see the influx of customers. “It is pretty loud over here, but honestly, everyone who has walked in is like oh because they get to step away from the sound if they really want to and I honestly think that brings people into our shop,” she said.

Naples Soap Company on Northeast Beach Drive is also seeing an influx of customers.

“We are literally right there next to the race we get a lot of foot traffic through the door so I’ve been told a lot by customers that the scent of the store wafts into the street and that’s a lot of times what brings people in,” said employee Aurora Christenson.

The race brings around 150,000 people to St. Pete and generates between $40-48 million in economic impact to the region, according to race organizers.

That's something drivers like Graham Rahal said is monumental.

“While people don’t think the drivers worry about the economic impact, we do because we understand the places that we go, it has to be beneficial for all involved,” he added.

The Firestone Grand Prix is now locked in to be in St. Pete through at least 2026, putting Tampa Bay in the international spotlight for years to come.