Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg 3-27-2011 16
It was absolutely amazing to attend the events surrounding the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg this past weekend. On Thursday, my business meeting downtown with clients just happened to end shortly before the night parade began. I thought that I might as well stay since most of the streets were blocked off for the parade & getting home would be a bit of hassle. The parade was followed by food, music, various vendors & fireworks. All of this was held throughout downtown along the waterfront parks. What a great way for the city to begin the festivities.
At the last minute, I was given 2 tickets to the races on Saturday so for the first time, I entered the sacred grounds. I usually peer through the fence or watch from the top (28th floor) of Bayfront Towers where my parents have lived for 20 years. How cool to actually get up close & personal to the cars, the drivers & the noise! As we entered we were given earplugs for free. The weather was perfect all weekend-hovering around 78-80 degrees with sunny, clear skies & a slight breeze. There was so much excitement in the air & everyone we saw or met was so nice & friendly. In addition to the races, there were activities for all ages, food, music, skydiving, stunt plane performances, various contests & meet ‘n greets with the drivers. Photographs & questions were encouraged. I am not a big race car fan but I do follow some & watch on TV but this was so incredible. I could be so lucky?
Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg 3-26-2011 8
On Sunday afternoon, I watched the last day of the Grand Prix from friends' 19th floor condo in Bayfront Tower. Their condo had views of almost the entire race track (& the waterfront) from every window. The best view & place to gather was their corner balcony, right above turns 4, 5, 6 & 7. From overhead we saw lots of bumping, some awesome crashes (no one was hurt) & several incredible passes, including a few by Danica Patrick.
The drivers represented many countries including USA, Canada, Scotland, Brazil, Japan, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Columbia and Venezuela. The fans seemed to have come from just as many countries, if not more. Three women finished in the top 15 places. Simona De Silvestro of Switzerland finished 4th, Danica Patrick of the USA finished 12th and Ana Beatriz of Brazil finished 14th. Nice job, ladies!
Wow! What a great experience. A good time was had by all. I took so many pictures. I am already making plans to attend again next year.
Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg 3-27-2011 12
**Below are some interesting stats from http://www.indycar.com
Numbers to note from the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first of 17 races in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
0 - Previous wins at St. Petersburg by either Dario Franchitti or Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
1 - Previous Honda Grand Prix of St. Peterburg winner that has gone on to win the IZOD IndyCar Series championship: Dan Wheldon in 2005.
2 - Drivers who finished in the top five for the first time in their IZOD IndyCar Series careers: Simona de Silvestro (fourth) and Takuma Sato (fifth).
6 - Top five-finishes in seven St. Pete starts for Tony Kanaan.
9 -Teams represented in the top 10 of the series point standings.
14 - Consecutive top-five starts by Will Power.
20 - Cars running at the finish, the most-ever in seven Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
13 - Positions improved by Simona de Sivestro and JR Hildebrand, the most positions gained by any driver. Sebastian Saavedra gained 12 positions.
94 - Laps led by Dario Franchitti at St. Petersburg.
Results of Race
Position Starting Position Car Driver
1 2 10 Franchitti, Dario
2 1 12 Power, Will
3 8 82 Kanaan, Tony
4 17 78 de Silvestro, Simona
5 11 5 Sato, Takuma
6 10 77 Tagliani, Alex
7 16 17 Matos, Raphael
8 13 14 Meira, Vitor
9 15 02 Servia, Oriol
10 6 22 Wilson, Justin
11 24 4 Hildebrand, JR (R)
12 19 7 Patrick, Danica
13 25 34 Saavedra, Sebastian (R)
14 20 24 Beatriz, Ana (R)
15 22 18 Jakes, James (R)
16 3 9 Dixon, Scott
17 12 38 Rahal, Graham
18 5 6 Briscoe, Ryan
19 21 59 Viso, EJ
20 9 3 Castroneves, Helio