2013 Honda Grand Prix Weekend Survival Guide
Here's what you need to know before heading downtown this weekend. From where to get your tickets to where to park in St. Pete.
Downtown St. Petersburg transforms into a street-legal speed zone, as race fans ready for the green flag on Sunday's 2013 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Sleek race cars, world-class drivers, celebrities, and family fun get the ultra-fast weekend underway as the 2013 Illuminated Night Parade, sponsored by BB&T and Progress Energy, winds through downtown and along the waterfront at 7 p.m.
The track heats up bright and early Friday, March 22, as drivers jockey for prime positions during eight series races, culminating in Sunday's 12:30 p.m. Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The race will be broadcast on NBC Sports.
This year's Grand Marshal, U.S. Army Specialist and St. Petersburg resident Charlie Lemon, will give drivers the command to start their engines, while Susie Wheldon, wife of racer Dan Wheldon, will wave the green flag. Wheldon, a St. Petersburg resident and two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 Honda Grand Prix, lost his life in the final race of 2011. His commitment to St. Petersburg, as well as racing, has been honored with a Victory Circle monument, located near Turn 10, or Dan Wheldon Way.
Race fans will see an additional 10 laps added to this year's race for a total of 110 laps or 198 miles. Racing officials made the change to discourage drivers from saving fuel by eliminating pit stops, improving the fan experience. Other races with an increased distance include Long Beach, Milwaukee and Mid-Ohio.
This year, the thrills extend from the terra firma into the wild blue yonder with go karting and aerial acrobatics. Fans turn their eyes to the skies midday Saturday and Sunday, March 23 and 24, for the Air Boss Air Show, featuring Patty Wagstaff, a three-time U.S. National Aerobatic champion and inductee into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. On land, fans can put the pedal to the metal by hopping in a go kart and taking a spin around a specially-constructed track at the Bright House Networks Speed Zone, located inside Gate 1. The track, just outside the race circuit between Turns 4, 5, 6, and 7, will be open Friday Sunday, from 8 a.m. until gates close. Another bonus this year, historic sports cars take laps around the track in feature races.
Race fans will want all eyes on the track as a number of St. Petersburg residents fly through the turns, including IndyCar drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Tristan Vautier, IndyLights' Nick Andries and USF2000 standout Shannon McIntosh. Vautier makes his No. 77 IndyCar debut in St. Petersburg after clinching the IndyLights championship in 2012, while Andries jumps from StarMazda series to piloting the No. 28 IndyLights car on the streets of his hometown. Fans have an opportunity to see other up-and-coming stars during the StarMazda, USF2000 and Pirelli World Championship (PWC) series races this
A short distance from the track, race fans can score autographs from their favorite drivers in the IndyCar Fan Village, play family-friendly interactive games or browse motorsports displays in the Bright House Speed Zone or take a spin on the Ferris wheel.
Entry Gates - Two points of entry allow race fans 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 Honda Grand Prix Spectator Guide provides a wealth of race day information. Find out more at www.gpstpete.com under Event Information.
Race Tickets - A hot commodity for race weekend, tickets for the Honda 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 with a wide range of price points for race fans of all ages, 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 from onsite booths at Gate 1, located at First St. and First Ave., or Gate 5, located at Second St. and Fifth Ave. S., will incur additional fees. For more information, visit www.gpstpete.com.
*Downtown Parking - Race fans will find more than 25,000 parking spaces
within a mile of the race track for personal vehicle parking, including the two city-owned garages. Parking at BayWalk (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 for all day on Friday and a $10 all-day event rate on Saturday and Sunday. The USF-St. Petersburg parking garage and selected lots offer the closest proximity to Gate 5. Parking is available Saturday and Sunday only in the USF-SP garage and selected lots and will cost $20 per vehicle. Private lots, garages and on-street parking will also be available. Motorists are encouraged to observe all posted parking regulations.
For more information about disabled parking, the Top Park-n-Ride Shuttle, the Trolley and motorcycle parking, check out our article, "Where to Park for the 2013 Honda Grand Prix"
Special thanks to the City of St. Petersburg for sharing this press release with St. Pete Patch.
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