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HomeSportIndy Car Races: Everything You Need to Know about St.Petersburg’s

Indy Car Races: Everything You Need to Know about St.Petersburg’s

Indy car racing series is an American open-wheel car racing competition under the professional-level automobile racing sports category. The competition happens every year in parts of North America and the  

United States. It covers temporary street circuits, short ovals, road courses and super speedways. In early 2019, IndyCar, the American auto racing sanctioning body, accredited top-level open-wheel racing championships.  

Since 1902, there have been different single-seat, open-wheel racing competitive (professional) events sanctioned by different sanctioning bodies. They include the American Automobile Association (AAA0, the United States Auto Club (USAC), the Championships Auto Racing Teams (CART), the Indy Racing League (IRL), the Champ Car World Series (CCWS), and the IndyCar. IndyCar is a merger of the IRL and the CCWS.  

IndyCar, St Petersburg Racing Series Brief History 

The IndyCar open-wheel automobile racing event in St Petersburg, currently known as the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, has served as a season opener many times. The racing events in St. Petersburg date back to 1985. However, Indy cars started competing in 2003.  

Normally, the IndyCar, St Petersburg competition racing competition is on a temporary course that consists of two Albert Whitted Airport runways, and several downtown streets. The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) was the first body to sanction car races in St Petersburg. It accredited Trans-Am Series races from 1985 to 1990, in the city’s downtown waterfront circuit.  

The SCCA events had their fair share of issues. To begin with, Jim Fitzgerald, a celebrated American racing driver, died in the 1987 race after a car crash. Additionally, businesses and residents near the circuit complained because of the high levels of noise, causing the event’s relocation to Florida State Fairgrounds. The racing events happened at the State Fairgrounds in 1989 and 1990 before going hiatus due to various problems.  

The St Petersburg racing events got revived for the 1996-1997 season, but on a different training course- The  

Tropicana Field. That season, the field hosted the Trans-Am Series and other support events such as the World Challenge, the Pro SRF, the U.S. FF2000, and the Barber Dodge. After that, the St Petersburg racing got called off again for several years.  

In 2003, racing events re-started in St. Petersburg under the Champ Car World Series. It was after modifications of the original 1985 waterfront circuit to make it more accommodative to racing competitions. Surprisingly enough, the event got cancelled the subsequent year because of promoter disputes. Furthermore, the season’s calendar had experienced a shakeup after CART filed for bankruptcy and got liquidated to form the Champ Car World Series body.  

Enter IndyCar Series 

The St. Petersburg races returned in 2005 under the new sponsorship of Indy Racing League. The event was now known as the IndyCar Series, and it was the IRL non-oval event. By 2007, the racing weekend incorporated an American Le Mans Series event as part of its expansion. Firestone became the title sponsor in 2014 after Andretti Green Promotions stop promoting the St Petersburg competitions.  

IndyCar St Petersburg Series Races 

Before the St.Petersburg IndyCar series became the Firestone GrandPrix of St.Petersburg, it had several other names: the Honda GrandPrix of St.Petersburg (2005-2013), the Kash n’ Karry Florida GrandPrix of St.Petersburg (1996-1970), and St Petersburg Grand Prix (1985-1990). The name of the series mostly depends on the each season’s corporate sponsorship deal. Here is a short list of other important facts you ought to know about the IndyCar, St.Petersburg series:  

  • Distance- The entire circuit race is 319 km long, and the races have 110 laps.  
  • Most wins- The driver with the most wins in the St Petersburg series is Hélio Castroneves, a Brazilian driver who has won it three times. The team with the most wins is Team Penske with 8, while Dallara is the manufacturer with the most wins, bagging a total of 14 since the competition began.  
  • Circuit Conditions- The surface of the racing circuit consists of concrete and asphalt. It is 2.9 kilometres long with 14 turns.  
  • Lap Record- Jordan King has the best lap record so far, standing at 1:00.0476. He achieved this feat in 2008 while driving a Dallara DW 12.  

Circuit Layouts of the St.Petersburg Race

Since racing competitions began in 1985, the series has utilized three different circuits. Currently, the  

IndyCar series uses the Second Bayfront Course. This track has its northbound segment turning at Central Avenue. The circuit’s main straight and pits are at the Airport, which also has a paddock area near the runway. Several turns (11, 12, and 13) link the Airport runway to Dan Wheldon Way.  

The Second Bayfront Course is a revamp of the First Bayfront Course, the series’ initial circuit. The first circuit ended at The Pier, where it made a U-turn. Also, it did not divert to the Airport Runways at Bayshore Drive’s end. Instead, it circled around 5th Avenue Southeast near Bayfront Arena. In fact, the finish/ start was at the Bayfront Arena’s parking lot.  

IndyCar Automobiles 

The IndyCar racing vehicles have 2.2 liter (direct injected) V-6 engines and feature an open cockpit. They have about 500-700 horsepower, with a design that allows them to move at 12,000 RPM. The car engines mostly come from companies like Honda and Chevrolet.  

The IndyCar motor sporting vehicles use ethanol, which burns cleaner, reducing environmental pollution.  

Additionally, IndyCar equipment (85%) comes partially recovered or recycled postconsumer materials. These are some of the steps IndyCar takes to preserve the environment.  

IndyCar Series Participating Countries 

In North America, the IndyCar series is the Open Wheel Racing open level. During the period running from 1996 to 2015, there were 40 different race tracks used during IndyCar series. Out of the 40, 16 were temporary or permanent roads, while the other 24 were ovals. Despite the high number of race tracks utilized over time, only five nations have hosted the series:  

  • United States 
  • Australia 
  • Canada 
  • Brazil 
  • Japan 


The IndyCar, St Petersburg racing event is one of the best sporting events around the world. You should make sure to attend, even if it’s only a one-time thing. Unfortunately, the 2023 event has already ended, so you might have to wait until 2024.

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