ST PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 8, 2019) – The 15th annual Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is under way and race cars have taken over the downtown streets of St. Petersburg. The fan and family activities are just as intense with features spread across the festival grounds.
Tony Dungy, the Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach, who currently serves as an analyst on NBC’s “Football Night in America,” was announced on Monday as the grand marshal of the race. Adding to Sunday’s festivities will be Jim Cornelison. Cornelison will sing the national anthem in pre-race ceremonies before Dungy gives the command for IndyCar drivers to start their engines.
Cornelison is known to sports fans everywhere as the powerful and exclusive voice behind “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks’ home games. He also has captivated Indianapolis 500 fans and viewers for the last two years, generating widespread praise since taking the “Back Home Again in Indiana” mantle in May 2017.
The SpeedZone, located near Turns 5 and 6 and the Firestone Bridge, features the Firestone Fan Experience, the primary location for driver autograph sessions today, and nearby is an array of free activities for kids including a slide, mechanical swing, rock climbing wall, among other features. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center’s activation returns. The merchandise vendors and other interactive displays are jam packed across the property for both adults and children flowing into Gasoline Alley.
Chevrolet, the official truck of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, has a full display of its latest vehicles in Albert Whitted Park. For adults, on the north waterside of Albert Whitted Park, there is a floating beer garden connected to the Yacht Club. The Budweiser Party Pit is the place to be for a pit-side party – no special ticket needed.
Eleven races in all will take the green flag this weekend starting today. The headlining, season-opening NTT IndyCar Series race set to begin officially at 1:37 p.m. EDT on Sunday. Local St. Petersburg resident Sebastien Bourdais will attempt to win it for the third year in a row.
Walk up registrations are available for tonight’s 7th Annual Modern Business Associates 5K Run on the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Track benefiting the Police Athletic League. It begins at 6 p.m. near North Straub Park on Bay Shore Dr. NE and runs the same direction as the race cars for the first time. More information can be found out gpstpete5k.com.
Gates open at 8:00 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets to the 2019 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg are available at the gate. General admission for Saturday is $35 and Sunday is $50, and a 3-Day adult ticket can still be purchased for $55 providing the best value. Junior pricing for those fans age 12 and under is $20 for Saturday and $25 for Sunday, and $30 for a 3-Day junior ticket. Parking is encouraged at Tropicana Field, then take the shuttle conveniently to the track.
Complete event information including a festival map can be found at gpstpete.com. Follow the action or post fan updates on social media with #FirestoneGP.