Miles hopes St. Pete IndyCar fans understand lockout

David Malsher-Lopez

After severe doubts over whether the race could happen, and in the wake of sports events across the nation and around the world being canceled or postponed to try and contain the spread of COVID-19, the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg was confirmed for this weekend but behind closed doors.

Miles said: "IndyCar loves to present great sport and competition and there is no place we enjoy more than St. Petersburg to open our season.

"However, the priority had to be the health and safety of our fans, drivers, teams, officials and workers.

“We worked through all the possible options with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, his administration and race promoter Green Savoree and we came to the best possible conclusion given all the circumstances – in particular when our teams indicated they still wanted to race.

"We are aware of the number of fans that gathered in St. Petersburg for the race weekend, but we are hopeful they trust and understand that the move was made with their health and welfare in mind as the sports world looks to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic from a global perspective."

To further protect the health and welfare of those taking part in the weekend activities, INDYCAR is setting up a screening area at the venue entry point to gain access.

IndyCar’s schedule for this, the 17th edition of the GP of St. Pete, has been condensed into two days, with Saturday featuring practice sessions at 9.45am and 1.30pm and NTT P1 Award qualifying at 4.45pm – all times local (Eastern) Time. All three sessions will be shown on NBC Sports Gold, with qualifying also aired tape delayed at 10pm. on NBCSN.

Sunday's schedule will see a half hour warm-up at 10.25am shown on NBC Gold. Live coverage on NBCSN begins at 2.30pm with the 100-lap Grand Prix getting the green flag at 3.30pm.