IPS: IRL: Behind the Barriers: St. Petersburg

Darren Manning and Patrick Carpentier are the only IndyCar Series drivers with experience on the St. Petersburg circuit. Both drivers competed here with CART in 2003. While the track has remained relatively unchanged, barriers have been moved back...

Darren Manning and Patrick Carpentier are the only IndyCar Series drivers with experience on the St. Petersburg circuit. Both drivers competed here with CART in 2003. While the track has remained relatively unchanged, barriers have been moved back from the racing circuit at several corners to improve sightlines for the drivers. Curbing has been added to the inside of the corners at turns four and five and the walls have been moved back opening up what had been a blind corner. Curbing is high enough to keep competitors on the circuit and eliminate the urge to cut corners.

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Three Menards Infiniti Pro Series drivers have competed on the 1.8-mile St. Petersburg street circuit in prior support events. Al Unser, Chris Simmons and Chris Festa

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One of the mega-yachts gracing the south yacht basin adjacent to the backstretch is the Detroit Eagle owned by Roger Penske. The 153-foot yacht, featured in the January 2002 powerandmotoryacht.com, sports two 3,650-horsepower diesel engines and a single diesel turbine. With diesel prices approaching two dollars a gallon we won't be chipping in to fill the 12,655 gallon fuel tank.

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The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg featured nonstop activities on Friday with four divisions of racing and two airshows. The Klein Tools air show, featuring Mike Manusco and Matt Chapman in nimble aerobatic planes, took to the skies as the first IndyCar Series session wrapped up on track. During the brief break to bring the Infiniti Pro Series cars to pit lane, an F15 Eagle demonstrated its ability to climb at an unprecedented rate of speed. The F15 was joined by a P51 Mustang, flying wing tip to wing tip to end the day's aerial festivities.

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The National Geographic channel will premiere "Indycar Racer," on Thursday April 7 from 8-11:00 p.m. The three one-hour specials will show a revealing insider view of the competitive world of the IndyCar Series. The National Geographic special "The Need for Speed" will air at 7:00 p.m. on the same evening.

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Red Bull hosts the Pre-Prix party Friday evening at the Garden Restaurant 217 Central Ave. St. Petersburg. The private party is open to the public starting at 10:00 p.m.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Darren Manning , Patrick Carpentier , Al Unser Sr. , Chris Festa , Roger Penske