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Ramsberger finally gets chance to stage St. Petersburg race

BRANT JAMES
Published October 15, 2004

Tim Ramsberger has been general manager of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for three different employers in 16 months. Now the 42-year-old St. Petersburg native thinks he will finally get to stage a race.

Ramsberger, who resigned his position as vice president of promoter operations with Champ Car on Tuesday, has been hired by the promotional wing of Andretti Green Racing to run the Indy Racing League event that is scheduled for downtown streets on April 3.

"It has been a long, strange journey and at times the fog got very thick," Ramsberger said. "But here we are. This one feels very good. This one has got a lot more firepower behind it. I think they can make it a historic event."

The race is scheduled to be broadcast live on ESPN.

Promoter Barry Green said Ramsberger's local ties were a plus, but it was Ramsberger's fit within his organization that made him the right hire.

"I am really, really big on having a complete team and a team that works well together," Green said. "He was a good fit for me and a real fit for the team. I enjoy him."

Ramsberger, a local attorney, was hired by promoter Dover Motorsports in June 2003 to manage the open-wheel Championship Auto Racing Teams event in St. Petersburg for 2003, but the race was canceled when the series was dissolved in bankruptcy court. He was hired by the series in March after it reformed as Champ Car. That series hoped to revive the St. Petersburg race, but logistics and legal wrangling eventually scuttled that plan.

The city then began courting the rival IRL, and in September announced a deal with Andretti Green to run the IRL's first street race.

Ramsberger thinks his previous experience in preparing for the Grand Prix will help assure this one occurs seamlessly.

"We obviously have a lot of foundation to build from," Ramsberger said. "But April will come very quickly, and there's a lot to be done. But I think we have the right ingredients - a quality, known product."

Among his first duties will be securing office space in St. Petersburg and putting "the finishing touches," Green said, on marketing and telecommunications. Tickets, he said, should be on sale before Christmas.

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