ST. PETERSBURG WAVES GREEN FLAG ON FAST CARS, FAMILY FUN FOR FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX WEEKEND
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (March 26, 2015) – Downtown St. Petersburg is open for business as the city welcomes three days of fast cars, world-class drivers and family fun on the waterfront during the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg tomorrow through Sunday, March 27-29. As the inaugural event on this year’s IndyCar circuit, downtown St. Petersburg transforms into one of racing’s most beautiful road courses and offers spectacular trackside waterfront views for fans of all ages. The race will be broadcast on ABC beginning at 3 p.m.
Everyone is welcome to visit St. Petersburg’s dining and retail district before, during, and after the race for special discounts and race-themed festivities at participating businesses. Both the Tropicana shuttle and Looper Trolley feature extended hours until 10 p.m. all three days, to encourage relaxation after a day at the track. New this year, a signature themed cocktail, the Sun Racer, will be offered at participating locations throughout downtown, as well as in the EDGE and Grand Central districts during race weekend.
To get Grand Prix weekend off to a speedy start, everyone is invited to embrace the race with live music, food and family fun at the free Fast Friday Community Block Party tomorrow, March 27, at 5:30 p.m. The party, on Central Ave. between 2nd and 3rd Sts. S, kicks off race weekend and also serves as the official awards ceremony location for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg 5K, which begins at 7:15 p.m. in Vinoy Park. Athletes of all ages and abilities will run along a waterfront course that includes a portion of the iconic racetrack before returning to the finish line. Modern Business Associates (MBA) is partnering with the Firestone Grand Prix for the 5K with proceeds benefiting All Children’s Hospital.
Inside the track, families are welcome to experience racing’s thrills a short distance from the track in the Bright House Speed Zone, while autograph seekers hope for a chance encounter with their favorite driver in the IndyCar Fan Village. Back on the track, enjoy the excitement of motocross coupled with the best of Baja when Robby Gordon’s SPEED Stadium Super Trucks thrill crowds with high jumps, crossovers, whoop sections and tight corners on the 1.8 mile racecourse.
Two Bay Area athletes, including Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Alex Cobb, will play key roles in this year’s event. Cobb will serve as the race’s honorary starter by waving the green flag, while three-time Pro Bowl and Tampa Bay Buccaneer wide receiver Vincent Jackson will serve as the 2015 Grand Marshal, leading the driver parade during pre-race ceremonies and make the call to drivers to start their engines.
In addition to the featured IndyCar and Indy Lights Series races, fans also have an opportunity to watch racing’s up-and-coming stars during the ProMazda, USF2000, and Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) series. Race fans can look for St. Petersburg resident and IndyCar driver Sebastien Bourdais or USF2000 driver Ayla Agren, also a St. Petersburg resident, on and off the track.
The following roads are closed or will have limited access during race weekend:
- First St. S. from First Ave. S. to Fifth Ave. S.
- First Ave. S. from First St. to Bayshore;
- Beach Dr. from Central Ave. to First Ave. S;
- Bayshore Dr. SE from First Ave. S. to Dali Blvd. (Fifth Ave.)
- Second Ave. S. from First to Second Sts.,
- First St. S. from Fifth Ave. S. (Dali Blvd.) to Eighth Ave. S.
- Sixth Ave. S. from Second to First Sts.
Albert Whitted Park is also closed to pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Following Sunday’s checkered flag, all roads and areas affected by the Grand Prix are expected to reopen by April 10, with some major roads open as early as April 1.
Airport Access - Albert Whitted Airport will be open during the weekend, with limited access via Sixth Ave. S. Access to USF-St. Petersburg, the Coast Guard station, the Port of St. Petersburg, and Demen’s Landing will be permitted; however, the boat ramp will be closed.
Entry Gates - Two points of entry allow easy access the track. Gate 1 is located at First Ave. S. and First St. S., while Gate 5 is located at Fifth Ave. S. and Second St. Both gates are wheelchair-accessible and allow intermittent track crossings, which are posted at each gate. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or it’s your first IndyCar race, the Firestone Grand Prix Spectator Guide provides everything you need to enjoy your day. Visit www.gpstpete.com under Event Information tab.
Race Tickets - A hot commodity for race weekend, tickets for the Firestone Grand Prix are still available. Choose from one, two and three-day tickets, group discounts for 10 or more, reserved seating or general admission and paddock passes from $20 to $135. Purchase tickets by phone at 877-283-5385 or www.gpstpete.com; prices include all taxes and service charges. Tickets purchased onsite at Gate 1 (First St. and First Ave.) or Gate 5 (Second St. and Fifth Ave. S.) will incur additional fees. For more information, visit www.gpstpete.com.
- Downtown Parking - More than 25,000 parking spaces are available within approximately a mile of the race track for race fan parking, including two city-owned garages. Parking at Sundial (enter from Second St. between First and Second Aves. N.) or South Core (enter from the south side between First Ave. S. and Second Sts.) will cost $5 on Friday and $10 on Saturday and Sunday. The Pier parking lots, located off of 2nd Ave. N. to the east of Bayshore Dr., offer $5 parking tomorrow, March 27, and $10 parking Saturday and Sunday. The USF-St. Petersburg parking garage and selected lots offer the closest proximity to Gate 5 with parking available Saturday and Sunday in designated areas for $20 per vehicle. Private lots, garages and on-street parking will also be available. Motorists are encouraged to observe all posted parking regulations to avoid parking citations or vehicle relocation.
- Disabled Parking – Free disabled on-street parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis; some spaces have time limits but most are available all day. Temporary disabled parking is available on Central Ave. between First and Second Sts. for those holding valid Disabled Person Parking Permit placards. Parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis tomorrow, March 27, through Sunday. Additional disabled parking is available in city garages, at Tropicana Field just inside the gate on 10th St. S. and in the USFSP parking garage. Due to its proximity to Gate 5, the USFSP garage is recommended for those with limited mobility while South Core is recommended for those entering Gate 1.
- Trop Park-n-Ride Shuttle - Parking is available at Tropicana Field in Lots 6A and 7A for $10, where race fans can ride a free Grand Prix shuttle to the track. The free shuttle, which features extended hours for the first time, will operate throughout race weekend, beginning tomorrow, March 27 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fans should enter from Third Ave. S. or Fifth Ave. S. Shuttle stops are located on 10th St. near the corner of 2nd Ave. S. at the stadium and on 2nd Street between 3rd and 4th Ave. S., a short distance to the track. The free Tropicana Field shuttle includes dedicated wheelchair-accessible trolleys. Find additional parking information and maps at www.stpete.org/grandprix.
- Take the Trolley - The Looper Downtown Trolley and Central Avenue Trolley offer rides throughout race weekend for just 50 cents per person (exact change required) in the downtown fare zone. The Looper Trolley runs today and Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Looper and Central Avenue Trolley are both wheelchair-accessible. Visit www.StPeteTrolley.com for more information and route maps.
- Motorcycle Parking – Motorcycle parking can be found on Central Ave. between First and Second Sts. on Saturday and Sunday. Spaces are first-come, first-served and will cost $5. Permanent parking for motorcycles, mopeds and bicycles is located on First Ave. N., between First and Second Sts., and on Second St. between Central Ave. and First Ave. S.
- Use Pedal Power - In addition to the more than 75 permanent bicycle racks located throughout downtown, a large number of temporary bicycle racks are available outside Gate 1 and Gate 5.
- Taxi! – Taxi stands are located on Second St. S., between Second and Fourth Aves. S. and on Sixth Ave. S. between Second and Third Sts. S.
Get the Inside Scoop – Need to know what’s going on inside the track? Look for the city’s crew of volunteer Ambassadors from the city of St. Petersburg, the St. Petersburg Chamber and Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater, outside of Gate 5 (Second St. S. and Fifth Ave. S.), at Gate 1 (First Ave. SE and First St.), at downtown shuttle stops, and around the track handing out maps and providing fans with directions, parking and ATM locations and other city information. Forgot sunscreen, need earplugs or an events schedule? Volunteer Ambassadors will make sure race fans are properly equipped for a sunny, street-legal track experience.
Get Social – Stay on top of the action at the track, follow your favorite team or driver and learn what’s going on in downtown St. Petersburg using the official Grand Prix hashtag #FirestoneGP. Follow @StPeteFL, @VSPC, @GPSTPETE, @IndyCar, @WCRacing, @ProMazda or @USF2000 for the latest updates and standings and show support by using #EmbraceTheRace while sharing photos and comments on Facebook.
Safety - The city of St. Petersburg and the Firestone Grand Prix work hard to keep everyone safe at events like the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Race fans are encouraged to report suspicious activity to the nearest law enforcement agency as part of the “See Something, Say Something” campaign.
Additional Information - The Dali Museum will be closed during Grand Prix weekend, March 27-29, and patrons are invited to visit The Dali when it reopens on Monday, March 30, at 10 a.m. Through April 1, free patron parking is available in the Dolphin parking lot with complimentary transportation to and from the museum. Shuttles run from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. with stops approximately every 15 minutes through April 1. Minibus service is also available from the Dolphin lot; hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Museum parking lot is expected to reopen April 2.
Meanwhile, the Mahaffey Theater Box Office will be closed during Grand Prix weekend, reopening Wednesday, April 1. Theater tickets may be purchased at www.themahaffey.com or at 727-893-7832.