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A fan's guide to the races

Seven video displays will be positioned around the track, ranging in sizes from 5 feet by 8 feet to 18 feet by 24 feet..

• Displays will broadcast a live feed by Speed Channel, a 24-hour motorsports network. Additional graphic content, real-time data statistics and timing, virtual track animations and driver headshots will be provided by on-site production engineers, from Clearwater company, Keyframe.

2. PIT
Cars will exit the runway straightaway to enter the pits, which offer ample room for cars to change tires and add fuel.

• There is a minimum of three pit stops required during the race per team.

The 1.806-mile course has 14 turns and incorporates a runway from Albert Whitted Airport. Race officials say long, wide straightaways will provide plenty of opportunities to pass.

The grandstands will be an excellent place to watch the grid setup, prerace shows and the victory circle celebrations. Not to mention the pits.

[Times photo: Teresanne Cossetta]
How to take great auto racing photos
Tips for capturing the action from the New York Institute of Photography Web site,
• Don’t freeze the action with a fast shutter speed. This may be fine for a pole vaulter, but it’s a bad choice at an auto race. If you “freeze” a speeding car it will look like it’s standing still. It may as well be parked!

• A better technique is to place your camera on a tripod and shoot with a slow shutter speed. Start with 1/30th-second and experiment with even slower shutter speeds like 1/15th or even 1/8th. On your prints the racing cars will come out with a blurred look. This implies to the viewer that they’re whizzing by.

•With any technique, the Institute suggests you position the car off center in your viewfinder with open space in front of it, giving the implication the car has space to move into.

• An even better option is to combine tripod use and a slow shutter speed with a panning motion as a car whizzes by. How do you pan? You pick up the car in your viewfinder a few seconds before you actually press the shutter button. Follow the car in your viewfinder by swiveling the camera to keep it in view. As the car zooms by, press the shutter button. Keep following the car in the viewfinder for a few more seconds. Result: The racing car will come out sharp in the print, but the background will blur. This blurred background implies speed!
Ticket prices for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg start at $25 for a general admission ticket for today. Sunday only reserved tickets are $55 and $75 for adults and $35 and $55 for youth 12-and-under. For information call 1-888-34-SPEED or visit the web site at

• Tickets can be purchased on race day at all major ticket entry gates. Booths open at 7 a.m. today and Sunday.

Admission policy
To assure a safe, enjoyable weekend for all, please note that the following may not be brought into the circuit. Bags are subject to search and inspection.
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Glass bottles, cans
  • Stadium seats
  • Bikes, skateboards
  • Skates, rollerblades
  • Fireworks
  • Pets (with the exception of service animals)
  • Ladders, stepstools
  • Umbrellas
  • Lawn furniture
  • Ice chests larger than 14”
  • All weapons, firearms
  • Banners
  • Non-motorized scooters (authorized only)
Saturday’s events
  • 7 a.m. Ticket gates open
  • 10 a.m. Champ Car practice
  • 1:45 p.m. Champ Car qualifying (session 2)
  • 3:45 p.m. Barber Dodge Race
  • Concert starts 15 minutes after last race session.
Sunday’s events
  • 7 a.m. Ticket gates open
  • 9 a.m. Champ Car warm-up
  • 12:15 p.m. Pre-race ceremonies begin
  • 1 p.m. Start of Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
  • 4 p.m. Trans-Am race

Concert: Pop group Better Than Ezra will perform live tonight in a free concert for all Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Saturday ticket holders.

Buccaneers: Several of the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will serve as Grand Marshals for the races. They will have the honor of saying “Gentlemen, start your engines.”

Telecast: Locally, watch the races from home on the Speed Channel. It’s the first and only 24-hour network devoted exclusively to motor sports. Only digital cable subscribers and satellite dish users have access to Speed Channel.
  • 48,000,000 viewers throughout the world are expected to watch the races.
  • 180 countries will have the race broadcast through Internationl television.
  • In Europe alone, it will be broadcast to 96 percent of households.
What to bring: Suggested items to bring to the races:
  • Ear plugs
  • Binoculars
  • Sunscreen (Vendor samples will be distributed)
  • Wide brimmed hat, visor or cap
  • Camera, videocamera
Rentals: Binoculars, scanners and headphones are available at the Racing Electronics trailer behind Grandstand 7. Binoculars are $7.50 per day and $15 for the weekend. Scanners start at $25 per day. A race-day frequency list is $5.
Weather: Plan to come down to the races whether it’s raining or not. Cars will be equipped with special tires. However, standing water on the track could cause delays.
Kid zone: Open today 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The Devil Rays will provide an inflatable speed pitch game.

Sources: Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, New York Institute of Photography and CART Series Media Guide.

[Times art: Teresanne Cossetta, Nelda Barlow]

Back to the St. Petersburg Grand Prix home page
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