By David Morgan, Associate Editor
Originally scheduled to kick off the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will now bring the revised schedule to a close on October 25.
The move to crown this year’s champion in Florida was announced on Wednesday by officials from INDYCAR, Green Savoree St. Petersburg, LLC (GSSP) and the City of St. Petersburg, marking the 16th straight season that INDYCAR will host a race on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit.
“The streets of St. Petersburg will make for a fitting and action-packed finale in a venue and city that our entire INDYCAR community holds dear,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “We extend our thanks and gratitude to Mayor Kriseman, Green Savoree and Firestone for working with us to find a new date for the event. It’s going to be a fantastic weekend of INDYCAR action, and I know our drivers will have race day in St. Pete circled on their calendars.”
Had the season gone off as planned, St. Petersburg would have been the season opener on March 15, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the race to be postponed.
The first notion that the St. Petersburg race would return to the schedule at a later date came when INDYCAR published its revised schedule on April 6 before Wednesday’s news of a confirmed date for the race.
“The City of St. Petersburg stands ready to welcome back the fans of INDYCAR, drivers, teams and sponsors in October,” said City of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “I want to thank our partners at Green Savoree Racing Promotions for believing in this race and giving the residents of the Sunshine City something to look forward to. I am confident that the race will occur in a manner that puts public health at the forefront.”
“Having a rescheduled date for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is a very positive development,” added Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of GSSP, organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. “This could only happen because of our partners’ commitment and support at City of St. Petersburg, INDYCAR and Firestone. We hope this offers both Floridians and our race fans something to look forward to later this year as we navigate through these unprecedented times for us all.”
Barring any further changes, the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series schedule will run 15 races at 12 different tracks starting with the June 6 race at Texas Motor Speedway, which will be run without fans in attendance.