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Special Section
Fit, fast ... and for real
A recent study shows race car drivers are as well-conditioned as other athletes -- and their sport is just as demanding.

Who's on TV
In the booth

Channel broadens appeal
If you thought for a minute that a channel devoting 24 hours, seven days a week to all things racing was, well, a bit much, guess what?

Celebrities and racing

Mexican contingent reveres forerunners
What the Rodriguez brothers started in the 1960s, a large crop of Mexico City drivers brings full force to CART.

The best of CART
Times staff writer Jim Tomlin has followed CART for much of its 25-year history. He looks back at some fantastic races:

A fan's guide to the races
All you need to know about the weekend events, from what to bring to what you'll see.

Fittipaldi a big boost
Just when it appeared CART had lost most of its connections to racing royalty, a majestic figure joined the ranks.

At a glance
WHAT: The series is the longest-running road racing series in North America.

Groomed to be a champion
Leonardo Maia is what the Barber Dodge Pro Series is all about.

A chance to prove their mettle
Jeff Simmons has been around the world, driven against some of the best drivers in racing and been successful almost everywhere he has raced. Back-to-back championships in the Barber Dodge Series are a testament to that.

Schedule and ticket information

Racing mechanic got his start in St. Petersburg
His appreciation for fast and unusual cars was born in the late 1970s in his father's foreign auto repair shop in tiny Dublin, Ga. But Pedro Campuzano's career as a racing mechanic actually started in St. Petersburg several years later, just a few miles from the site of this weekend's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

A racing dictionary
BACKMARKER: A car at or near the back of the field.

Foundation is old, but is it crumbling?
The CART series, an idea germinated by disaffected team owners in 1978, has steadily lost ground in recent years to the Indy Racing League. Now some of its founders speak out.

The CART-IRL split
THE INSTIGATOR: Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony George sought more control over the sport and announced in March 1994 the formation of the Indy Racing League, reserving most of the spots in the Indianapolis 500 for his American-based overall series. He said his goals were to lower costs and develop more appeal for American-based sponsors and fans.

The Vanderbilt Cup
The Vanderbilt Cup was established in 1904 by William K. Vanderbilt Jr. as America's first major trophy in motorsports. A re-creation serves as the series championship trophy in CART.

CART history

City has had false starts with racing
While the local Sunshine Speedway has been an anchor of racing in St. Petersburg, here is a recap on some of the Grand Prix's notable forerunners:

Olvey's mission of safety earns acclaim
The renowned doctor got his start in racing attending to sunburns during the Indy 500. Now he is a leading authority on protecting drivers.

2003 Florida calendar
Major events around the state:

A racer's racer, and a teacher to the stars
The defensing Trans-Am series champion has given tips to NASCAR's best on how to navigate road courses.

Expensive real estate
It costs about $8-million a year to operate a CART team, and almost 100 percent of that is paid for by sponsorships.

More coverage:
Taking it from the top
That's what Bruno Junqueira will try to do as he takes the seat vacated by 2002 CART champ Cristiano da Matta.

Race car drivers join 300 at inaugural Grand Prix ball
The event held at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort will benefit three bay area charities.

Rain won't halt races; grooved tires help
ST. PETERSBURG -- Severe thunderstorms might sweep through the Tampa Bay area on Saturday, but organizers of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg say this weekend's races will go on, rain or shine.

'Clean zone' riles some downtown business owners
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Tavern at Bayboro was all set to cash in on Grand Prix weekend. The restaurant's owners put up colorful streamers and a few vinyl signs, hoping to bring racing fans into their little pub near the race course.

Surreal helmet suits Servia fine
ST. PETERSBURG -- Do not let the ants crawling up Oriol Servia's chin bother you. It's just a tribute on his helmet to surrealist painter Salvador Dali. Both were born in Spain's Catalonia region.
Interactive graphics
Built for speed- Anatomy of a car

Click above for a graphic that explains the dynamics of the Champ Car.

A lap around the track
Grand Prix track

Click above for a simulated lap around the track.

Meet the drivers

Click above for a slide show on the CART drivers.

Panoramic views of track
panoramic photos

View three Quicktime panoramic photos at the link above. (You'll need the Quicktime plugin to view. The free plugin is available here.)

Getting to the races

Follow routes on the map on this page to and from the course in downtown St. Petersburg. Parking prices will vary. Also, the Looper Trolley operates downtown.
Audio and 360 video of pit crew

Coming Saturday:
• What do the drivers think of the course?
• In the Garage: What adjustments are the teams making?
• In the Stands: What are the fans doing?
• A Fan's Guide to the Races: What you'll see and how to follow the action.

Coming Sunday:
• Who are the young drivers to watch in this race and beyond?
• A look at the Champ Car starting grid
• A detailed view of the track
• Coverage of the support races

Coming Monday:
• Complete coverage of the races

Related links
Special Report: Auto Racing 2003
• Champ Car World Series
• Sports section

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