ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA)—The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg kicks off on Friday and fans are excited.
But in 2020, the year of the pandemic, things will be different.
In the past, you would typically see massive crowds cheering on racers as their impressive machines zip through the scenic course. But this year, there will be a limited number of fans.
Race organizers have asked fans to do a self-assessment before their arrival. If they don’t feel well, they will need to stay home. There will be health screenings and temperature checks at the entrance. Masks will be provided to fans who don’t have them and must be worn at all times.
“It’s the same thing that everyone else is dealing with, but it just reemphasizes how strange and weird this year and season has been. At least we’re out there. We’re not confined or in quarantine or anything like that,” said local IndyCar driver Sébastien Bourdais.
The course spans more than 80 acres, giving fans plenty of space to spread out.
The race is usually the opener for the IndyCar Series, but it will be the finale this year due to the pandemic.
“We’re really hoping to see as many fans as we can. It’s kind of been a lonely season for us putting on shows in front of barely any crowds or no crowd at all, which has been really strange,” Bourdais added.
According to the schedule, drivers will have time to practice Friday morning before their qualifying races in the afternoon.