Drivers are ready to see fans at this weekend's Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Race weekend begins Friday morning
St. Pete Grand Prix.jpg
Posted at 2:08 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 17:30:09-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The 16th annual Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is now underway.

The main attraction is the NTT Indycar Series race. The green flag drops on the race Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Originally scheduled for March 15, the Indycar race that's usually the first of the season is now the last. Two-time winner Will Power said he was afraid they might not have the race at all, but he's glad it stayed on the schedule. He's also excited to see fans in attendance.

St. Pete Grand Prix tickets went on sale Wednesday for October races

"It’s just great to see families, and kids, and people walking around enjoying the paddock," Power said, via video chat. "Getting autographs from drivers, getting to see the cars being worked on. I just pray that we get back to normal next year, and fans get to come in full capacity and see the races."

Power said racing without fans feels like racing in a ghost town, and the environment around St. Pete is what makes this particular race so special.

The fans are thrilled to be back and to watch the race in person, too.

“I’ve come here every year for the past 10 years. It’s just a habit, it’s part of our nature and culture here in St. Petersburg,” said Justin Schweter, a local Indycar fan.

Firestone is now the presenting sponsor of the 2020 season finale and the 2021 season opener in a unique wrap-around St. Pete doubleheader.

“It has been incredible to see how resourceful everybody has, sports, in general, have been important as we try to get back,” said Lisa Boggs, Director of Motorsports at Bridgestone Americas.

The City of St. Petersburg and race officials will cap fan attendance at 20,000. Masks or face coverings are required for everyone who plans to attend.

For a complete schedule of the practice laps, qualifying and races at the Firestone Grand Prix, click here.

To purchase tickets, click here.