Time to Go Racing: Welcome to St. Petersburg

Hard to believe it’s already been one year since attending my first Verizon IndyCar Series as a member of the media. I feel like I’ve grown as a professional and even as a fan.

I’ve met more people than I could possibly count, many of which I know will be a part of my life forever. One of the reasons I love this work so very much, besides the obvious racing aspects, is because I learn something new on a daily basis. There is always someone who can tell me a story, enlighten me about a historic aspect of the series, a track, a race, and leave me a better and more educated person. That seems to be the key component that keeps me yearning for more and gives me confidence that I can and will do this for as long as the world lets me! I love change, I love rolling with the punches and love that life sometimes leads me into a blind turn… but as long as my initial instinct continues to guide me around that turn, rather than a desire to stop, I’m here to stay.

Do I get nervous? Yes. Do I have those little creeping thoughts in my mind the night before a race weekend, second-guessing my own abilities and wondering if the inspiration will hit me and the material will present itself to me like it always has in the past? Yes. I would be lying to you if I ignored those basic emotions. That’s why I have to start this season out as authentically as possible – reminding myself and you, my amazing readers and supporters, that being scared of something or worried that you might fail should NEVER stop you from going after what you want, from pursuing your dream, or simply embracing all that is good in  life. The only way we fail at something, is if we don’t try.

Okay, now that my head is clear and you guys know where I stand as the season kicks off here in Florida, let’s get into the good stuff! Today is the first day of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race weekend. There are so many ways to keep up with the action if you’re not at the track. If you are lucky enough to be here on site, make sure you don’t miss a minute of all the on-track action either!

USF2000 and Pro Mazda have both completed their first practices under the sunny skies and it looks like the ominous clouds have broken up for now. They will take the track for practice sessions later today at 2:00pm & 2:45pm, respectively. USF2000 Qualifications will open the track tomorrow morning at 8:00am, with Race #1 a few hours later at 10:15am; Race #2 will occur on Sunday, March 29th at 8:55am. Pro Mazda will be following up USF2000 on track, with their qualifications on Saturday, March 28th at 8:45am, Race #1 at 1:30pm, and Race #2 on Sunday at 9:50am.

The Indy Lights are on track now, sounding amazing with those new IL-15’s! We’ll get to hear them practice again this afternoon at 3:30pm. Qualifications will take place Saturday at 9:30am and then the moment we’ve been waiting for – hearing the entire pack roaring to the green flag! You will get to experience that TWICE, with Race #1 on Saturday at 2:25pm & Race #2 at 12:45pm on Sunday.

MRTI has introduced an all new way to follow along with the action of all three series in the ladder, with the Road to Indy TV app! It’s available on iOS and Android phones and it’s completely free! Enjoy timing and scoring, live commentary, a complete race calendar and episodes through the season! The app is very user friendly and I’ve personally used it a few times already… have to say, I’m very impressed. You can tell that they put a lot of time into developing it… make sure you download it and see for yourself!

The IndyCar Series will debut their road & street Aero Kits this weekend. Their first track time is slotted for 12:30pm this afternoon and then again at 4:15pm. Tomorrow, the drivers will get in one practice session at 12:30pm before heading over to IndyCar Fan Village to meet & greet with fans, as the entire field participates in an autograph session; it starts at 2:15pm and this is always a BIG event so get in line early!

When you finish up at the Autograph session, head to Mahaffey Theater where I will be hosting the IndyFans Tweet Up from 3:30 – 4:00pm. We will have a very special guest and fan favorite driver joining us, so you do not want to miss this! The Tweet Up will wrap just in time for you to find a viewing spot for the IndyCar qualifications at 4:15pm.

Of course, the biggest show of the weekend is the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race, itself! Coverage for the Sunday, March 29th race will be provided by ABC, starting at 3pm. We will go green at 3:37pm for 110 laps. Be sure to follow along on your IndyCar 15 app, exclusively available to Verizon Wireless customers, for additional commentary, live scoring and timing and views right on board with select drivers. I use this app trackside and when covering races from afar, and I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t yet.

*All times listed are in EDT

I will be trackside at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg all weekend. Make sure you bookmark MTAF Wheels and my author page for all the latest news. As always, if you have requests for photos, or questions for particular drivers, send them my way and I will do my best to accommodate!

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