The Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg – an IndyCar Series Race that began in 2009. The race initiates the start of the NTT IndyCar Series season. This high profile event takes place mostly on inner-city metropolitan streets that are secured with concrete barriers and 20 foot high protective fencing.
The ticket shown right is for the first of a 3 day racing event. Its a fabulous day without a cloud in the sky. There’s a slight breeze swooping in from Tampa Bay keeping the high temps bearable. St Petersburg is literally roaring with excitement. Let the fun begin!
Our day at the races started around noon on March 8th, 2019 with the Indy USF2000 Race 1 in progress. My name is Anthony Scopel. I am a writer and photographer / videographer for the travel site ‘You, Me and The Dock’. I will be your guide throughout this exciting day. The first thing I noticed was the high pitched whine and the smell of racing fuel in the air. There were a lot of racing fans clinging to the track’s fence line trying to catch a glimpse of the passing speedsters.
These open-wheel, high performance – low profile wedge like race cars are considered one of the fastest machines in the world of roundabout track racing. These world class speed demons don’t possess the abundant horsepower that their counter parts have; NASCAR Cup Series Cars and Trunks – 725 to 800 hp, but do reach their maximum velocity speed within seconds.
These V6-twin turbo charged cars produce 550 to 700 horsepower in a vehicle that weighs less than 1,600 lbs. They can achieve speeds in excess of 190 mph on a tight “S” shaped curved courses that has just over a half mile straightaway – from start to finish within seconds.
As millions of people look upon this exciting sport worldwide, I am experiencing it firsthand! The adrenaline rush these road warriors must be feeling before hitting the track has to be ultimately mind blowing.
On this particular day we were able to follow the cars on their trek to pit lane, a.k.a pit row. We had the opportunity to witness the drivers and their crews prepare their magnificent machines for battle. There is nothing like being in the middle of all the action.
The cars posted up to their assigned stations where the crews set up shop. Most drivers had locked in their qualifying times earlier in the day. Periodically the drivers are allowed to take practice runs. This helps them memorize the track’s layout. Knowing how to maneuver the hairpin turns and snaking corners increases their competitive edge.
Instead of watching from the grandstands, we visited strategic locations along the course where cars zoomed by at incredible speeds. While going from one point to another, we recognized several racing teams temporary living quarters. Here is where they camp out for a long weekend of racing.
The Andretti Auto Sport is a racing team that competes in the IndyCar Series. The team is headed by a very well-known and iconic Indy race car driver Michael Andretti. The Andretti Auto Sport team has won the Indianapolis 500 five times and the IndyCar Series Championship four times to only mention a few of their accomplishments. There were many other racing teams participating as well.
The following video is filled with lots of racing action. The audio is very high pinched. You will also here some popping as the cars let off the gas pedal. This is rumored to be fuel left in the cylinders and being burned off when the driver is decelerating.
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Author: Anthony Scopel
Photography: Anthony & Maureen Scopel
Video: Anthony and Maureen Scopel
Article Creator & Formatting: Anthony Scopel
Video Production: Anthony Scopel & Matt Kemper
Associate Editor: Maureen Scopel
Technical Mastering & Web Support: Matt Kemper
Publisher: You, Me and The Dock
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