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Grand Prix of St. Petersburg---Bruce #540, Pat # 539

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  • Bruce Eckel
    Hi all, It was a short one day trek to Florida to take in two new tracks. We arrived in sunny and warm Florida (80 s) around 10:30 AM, flagged down the Alamo
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 3, 2007
      Hi all,

      It was a short one day trek to Florida to take in two new
      tracks. We arrived in sunny and warm Florida (80's) around 10:30 AM,
      flagged down the Alamo shuttle bus and headed to their compound. Two things
      I liked about renting from Alamo today was the Kiosk which saved time
      getting the car and walking out into the car pickup area which was labeled
      by car size and picking your own rental. We had compact status today and
      went with the Chevy equivalent of the PT Cruiser. Don't even know what they
      call this one. But we liked it better than the PT Cruiser which we had the
      last time in Florida. It was a little after 11 when we cleared the airport
      and headed over to the St. Petersburg area. We found a nice deli to eat
      lunch at and then parked on the edge of the race course in a parking garage
      for $10. General admission for today was $25 and some guy had an extra
      ticket which we bought for $20. It doesn't make sense to us that general
      admission only gets you into the grounds and not any of the grandstands. I
      understand that they are trying to make more money but considering that the
      two races today were on TV you would think that they would let anyone and
      everyone into the stands to project a good crowd. But it was not to be. We
      walked the entire course or should I say the accessible parts. The 1.8 mile
      street course with 14 turns has the usual problem of not many good vantage
      points to view the racing. Even from the various grandstands you could only
      see a small portion of the track. We finally settled on a vantage point of
      a raised turret at gate 4 of Progress Energy Park, the spring training site
      of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. This view afforded you to see a portion of a
      long straight and into turn 4 (XM-Satellite Radio Corner).

      The one race we witnessed was for the Indy Pro Series, the AAA
      version of the IRL. It was 40 laps in distance with 24 starters in the race
      which started promptly at 2:45. There were a surprise of 3 full course
      cautions in this event with passing at a premium though in our corner we
      must have seen four passes. Alex Lloyd driving the Sam Schmidt Motorsports
      entry won from the pole for his second straight win. I believe he hails
      from the Isle of Man. It was a rather lackluster race and as soon as it was
      over we headed for the parking garage and the car.

      Bruce and Pat

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