The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was supposed to launch the 2020 IndyCar season in March but then the COVID 19 virus pandemic threw the country for a loop. Plans changed and so last Sunday the 2020 IndyCar season ended on the streets of St. Petersburg with Scott Dixon winning the IndyCar Championship.
The 2021 season will begin Sunday, March 7 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, marking the 10th consecutive year that St. Petersburg will host the launch of a new season. That event will be the first of nine races on NBC network television – a schedule that also includes the historic Grand Prix of Long Beach in April.
Sports Talk Florida had a chance to catch up with some of the drivers to get their thoughts on the St. Pete race and it seems that they love coming to town,
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 United Rentals Honda:
JACK HARVEY – No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda
COLTON HERTA – No. 88 Capstone Turbine #ShiftToGreen Honda
Everyone is excited that they will be back in St. Petersburg in March for the race and that includes the head of the IndyCar series.
“We’re really pleased that the current plans provide for one additional race on NBC’s network than we had this year,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp. “In particular, the season will start with NBC coverage of the St. Petersburg event, a spectacular start for those in attendance and for those watching from home.”
“The INDYCAR and NBC Sports partnership continues to be mutually beneficial, growing in viewership and providing adrenaline-packed entertainment to a national sports audience,” said Michael Perman, vice president, programming, NBC Sports. “We’re looking forward to providing increased exposure to the series in 2021, including network coverage of the season opener in St. Pete and the finale in Laguna Seca. Additionally, as a marquee event of our Championship Season, we’ll also provide wall-to-wall coverage of the Indy 500 on NBC, an international sporting spectacle filled with speed and exceptional drama.”
Several traditional races return in 2021. Over half of the events on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule have been on the calendar for 16 or more years, with Long Beach and Mid-Ohio (36 years) leading legendary visits to Detroit, Road America, Toronto and Portland International Raceway.
The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season champion will be crowned Sunday, Sept. 19 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, wrapping up the season on NBC.