Even though the IndyCar Series doesn’t race in Kansas anymore, it doesn’t mean that Kansas can’t come to us… in the form of it’s most famous weather phenomenon: the tornado. I’m sitting here in the Mahaffey Center in the middle of the track at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. There are fans, media and spectators of all kinds spread across the area – in the parking garage, the center, the airport terminal – and hopefully everyone will be safe. To say that people are getting restless is an understatement. We are currently under a Tornado Watch & have been for over an hour and a half now.
We’re always prepared for unpredictability on race weekend. We never know exactly what form it might come. It could be an engine issue, a driver miscue, a team communication error, or even something out of our realm of control, like this severe weather. This is one of the most debilitating occurrences as there is no way to figure out exactly how bad things could get or if the forecast will reach fruition at all! This advisory came right as the Stadium Super Trucks were about to start their first of two races this weekend. It has also now crept into the timeframe for the Indy Lights Series qualification & looks to be presenting the same imposition on the IndyCar Series qualification that was set to start at 2pm.
The cell seems to be just creeping by St. Pete’s to the north, so thus far we have only gotten rain. I’m optimistic that this might be the worst we see this afternoon, given the look of the radar at the direction of the winds. Hopefully we will be back out on the track today once this storm system gets past us AND we can dry the track in time. This is a developing story so please follow me on Twitter for updates!