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Grand Prix of St. Petersburg lineup | News

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Grand Prix of St. Petersburg lineup
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- It's Grand Prix week, which is always an exciting time for our city as the greats of the racing world arrive in St. Petersburg.  I am especially revved up for this year's race.

If you have never been to the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, here are five reasons why this should be the year, courtesy of Mayor Bill Foster:

1. We will host more racing than ever. A new Ferrari Challenge joins the racing line-up. Including  the ABC nationally televised race (12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.) on Sunday, March 25, there will be six sanctioned series races. For the race fan, this means the track will be hot with racing action longer each day (most often until 7 p.m.), and there will be qualifying races on Friday.

2. The 2012 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg marks the first race for the new IZOD IndyCar Series car, which replaces the current chassis introduced in 2003. Our own Dan Wheldon was involved in the development of this chassis, which will forever be known as the DW 12. The event also marks the beginning of a new form of competition among engine manufacturers with three different engines - Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus, competing for track leadership.

3. This year there will be lots of family fun to enjoy in addition to the race action on the circuit. The Honda Grand Prix Illuminated Night Parade on Thursday will be capped off with fireworks over the Bay; the Bright House Speed Zone (Al Lang Parking Lot) has been expanded this year with more interactive racing exhibits and games for the kids; The Budweiser Clydesdales have returned again this year in Albert Whitted Park, and will be open for viewing within the shadow of an even taller 80-foot ferris wheel.

4. Smart phone users will have inside access to some of the racing action -- including tweets from the drivers and their racing teams, autograph session times, race schedules and maps online, pole ranking and lap times, scannable QR codes to direct visitors to attractions both inside and outside of the race circuit, and more.

5. Finally, this is our chance to show our love for one of our own, Dan Wheldon. A short tribute in his honor before Sunday's race promises to be a fitting tribute to a St. Petersburg son who changed the world of racing forever.

Please take some time this weekend to enjoy any or all of the activity the Grand Prix has to offer our community. I'll see you down on the waterfront.

Release courtesy City of St. Petersburg.

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