Monday, March 14, 2016

Practice Run at the St.Petersburg Grand Prix

St.Petersburg has hosted the IndyCar series for the past 12 years.  For at least a week it has been difficult to navigate the downtown city streets because some have been blocked off for the race which was held Sunday.  It is an 1.8 mile long waterfront course with 14 turns.  It includes a combination of adjacent downtown streets and extends unto the runway of Albert Whitted Airport.  From our seats Friday we could see way off in the distance Tampa  Bay, and St,Petersburg Harbor and Marina.
Maybe you are wondering as to how we ended up at a car racing event.  The pastor of the church we have been attending indicated to us that he could get tickets for Friday's practice race from a friend who owns a tavern near the racetrack.  We also could use the tavern's parking lot for free.  My first thought that just John and our son-in-law Spencer could go.  Then Spencer got the idea that it would be a good experience for Nathan, and soon we were all in agreement that we would go together.  I was not sure that I would enjoy the roar and fumes, but it would be a new experience that maybe I could try at least once.  Ear plugs would be necessary.
Nathan never did get his ear plugs on, he and his parents were not there for the full race.  We were a distance away and the noise was not bad.  Nathan did have sun glasses and a hat- the sun was quite warm as we sat with no shelter on the bleachers.  His first most profound words when he saw the racing cars were  "fast cars". 
As I mentioned earlier, Friday was a practice run for the Grand Prix.  The next day, Saturday, would be the qualifying run, when the drivers would determine starting pole positions.  For this race there were 22 drivers from different parts of the United States, as well as 10 countries from around the world.  They would do 110 laps around the 1.8 mile course.  About every 10 laps tires would need to be changed, so we saw a lot of activity down in the pit stop near our seats.  Driver Will Power from Australia had the best record for Friday's practice race, and on Saturday would qualify for pole position.  Unfortunately in Fridays first practice run he suffered a mild concussion and became too ill to drive on Sunday.
By some fluke I managed to get a picture of the driver who won on Sunday, number two driver Juan Montoya from Bogota, Columbia.  After the practice run we walked over to see the cars and drivers.
Pictured above is car number 14, and the driver Takuma Sato from Tokyo.  While walking around the grounds I finally figured out why one car had the word "Fuzzy" on it.  I thought that was a cute name for a racing car, but they are not named like horses.  "Fuzzy" is the brand name of a type of vodka, of course I knew that!

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