Close this search box.
Close this search box.

The Firestone Grand Prix returns this weekend, and could have a $50 million economic impact

fans in bleachers watch as cars race by on a sunny day. It's an INDYCAR circuit track

It’s Grand Prix season and festivities kick off this weekend in neighboring St. Pete. It’s three straight days of wild racing through the streets of the Sunshine City and it’s so worth the drive over the Howard Frankland Bridge. While we are ready to enjoy all the intense racing action, things heat up well before the first flag is waved.

INDYCAR Party in the Park will kick off the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding weekend on Thursday, March 2 (TONIGHT). This free community activity will launch the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opening event held annually in downtown St. Petersburg and will take place in North Straub Park, positioned between Bayshore Dr. NE and Beach Dr. NE along the waterfront. The fun goes from 5:30pm to 8pm. Bask in the beautiful views of the Vinoy Yacht Basin as you browse and admire the vehicles set to hits the streets of St. Pete.


Large gathering in a waterfront park. Race cars are arranged on a lawn.
The Party in the Park brings thrilling Firestone Grand Prix Action to downtown St. Pete

Firestone Grand Prix party in the park

Part of the INDYCAR Party in the Park festivities will include recognizing 5K participants on stage. Registrations for the 5K are currently available online at for $40 in advance, and all proceeds will benefit the Police Athletic League (PAL) of St. Petersburg, supporting its many programs positively impacting local children and teenagers.

The 19th Annual Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding returns as the opening race for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for the 13th time. The event also features five support racing series on track with ten total races set to take the green flag over the three-day weekend.

Someone behind a grill with chicken smoking. The chef is holding a pair of tongs and smiling.
Beyond the Grand Prix, the weekend will include some of the best BBQ in town for attendees

Experience the beauty of neighboring St. Pete

The current gate hours for race weekend are:


  • Friday: 7:30 AM – 6:35 PM
  • Saturday: 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Sunday: 7:30 AM – 3:45 PM 

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding is a 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary circuit that uses the streets circling Pioneer Park, the Duke Energy Center for the Arts, The Dalí Museum and extending onto the runways at Albert Whitted Airport, which overlooks the waterfront of Tampa Bay and picturesque St. Petersburg Harbor and Marina.

Those who plan to be there for the entire weekend will get to enjoy a festival inside of a festival as myriad vendors will be slinging some of the best food, drinks, and swag in the region. Prepare for ample amounts of walking as you explore all of the vendors. I imagine the savory perfume emitted from the BBQ smokers will have you cartoon floating to the nearest tent for a rack of ribs and a fresh squeezed lemonade.

An indycar parked on the waterfront. A podium is place to the side of the car with a large step and repeat with Grand Prix branding behind the car.
The show car has made its rounds to businesses across the Tampa Bay region

Explore all that the three-day festival offers

The team at Grand Prix Gear, the official merchandiser of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding, has been working tirelessly to bring all guests the best merchandise of the season. Thousands of visitors are set to flock to St. Petersburg in support of this event, and its economic impact on area businesses. They’re staying at local hotels, visiting area coffee shops, dining and shopping around the downtown area, and shining an even bigger spotlight on the entire region.

According to St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch, the annual IndyCar weekend has an economic impact of at least $50 million. “Those are conservative, pre-Pandemic levels,” Mayor Welch said at the annual welcome breakfast.

Vistors can also enjoy a breezy stroll through the beer garden in between circuits. You can find even more information about the Grand Prix, purchasing tickets, and a full events schedule on its website.

What to read next:


Don't miss a story 👉

Get all the best local content delivered to your inbox

👇 Don't Miss a Story 👇

Recent Stories