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IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg gets OK to host 20,000 fans

Josef Newgarden will be looking for his third straight win in St. Petersburg. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Josef Newgarden will be looking for his third straight win in St. Petersburg. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be allowed to have up to 20,000 fans after a unanimous vote by city officials on Thursday. The rescheduled event will take place the weekend of April 25 and will be the NTT IndyCar Series second race of 2021.

The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg scheduled to be the season opener in March but was pushed back because of COVID-19 concerns.

The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park is now the first race of the year on April 18.

"This is an important event for our local economy and will again serve to showcase and elevate the Sunshine City on the world stage,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman in a release. “I am confident that the protocols in place will allow for a safe, fun race weekend in St. Pete."

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Strict guidelines for 2021 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

There will be a “no mask, no Entry” mandate for race fans, and everyone will be subject to a health screening and temperature checks. Additionally, Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race organizers will operate the event under specific health and safety protocols for COVID-19, including limited grandstand capacity to allow for social distancing.

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is one of the most picturesque settings for a motorsports event. Its 1.8-mile street course is spread over a large downtown area along its waterfront and uses the runway of Albert Whitted Airport for the start-finish line.

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In the past, Green Savoree St. Petersburg, the race organizer, never released actual attendance numbers from previous events, so the 20,000 figure is more than anyone has ever had in that regard.

Read more: What does shutdown of NBCS mean for U.S. motorsports?

Josef Newgarden will be looking for his third straight Grand Prix of St. Petersburg victory. He won the season opener in 2019 and the season finale last year after IndyCar had to scramble its schedule because of the pandemic.

Edited by Jeff Owens
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