Three-time Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race winner Helio Castroneves will serve as the grand marshal for the March 9-11th weekend. Castroneves, who gained global notoriety for his dazzling performance away from the race car by winning Dancing with the Stars in 2007, has claimed the most IndyCar wins in the event’s 13-year history.
“The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg has always been one of my favorite events. The fences are great to climb!” said Helio Castroneves, the longtime Team Penske driver. “I am honored to be grand marshal this year. I will miss competing in the race, but I look forward to seeing all of the fans and taking part in all of the activities during the weekend. I cannot wait to see the new aero kit Indy cars – fans will not want to miss out on all of the action.”
Firestone, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and Team Penske have joined together to honor and celebrate Castroneves’ accomplishments as an IndyCar driver, including three Indianapolis 500 victories during his 20-year Indy car career. His involvement as grand marshal will span five days of activities encompassing community, media and fan interaction events on site and within the City of St. Petersburg.
“Everyone at Firestone is grateful to Helio (Castroneves) for his contributions to our sport,” said Lisa Boggs, director of Bridgestone Americas Motorsports. “Honoring him as grand marshal of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is a great way to thank him and give fans the opportunity to let him know how much they appreciate all he has done. Helio raced on Firestone Firehawks for almost two decades, so it is fitting that he is a part of this race weekend.”
“It’s our honor to have Helio join us as grand marshal and recognize his many IndyCar achievements at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg,” said Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Racing Promotions, organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. “Our fans will no doubt give him a great reception as he returns to the race track where he sets the standard for success.”
Race fans will have the opportunity to interact with the popular 2012, 2007 and 2006 winner of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Castroneves will be available for a moderated fan question and answer session in the Mahaffey Theater. Ticket holders who are members of Firestone Grand Prix Champions Club will have access to an exclusive autograph session. Details will be posted on gpstpete.com closer to the event. Follow #FirestoneGP on social media for updates on Castroneves activities surrounding the race weekend.
Helio Castroneves will also serve as the honorary starter of the 6th Annual Firestone Grand Prix 5K Run presented by Modern Business Associates benefiting the Police Athletic League of St. Petersburg. This run or walk event is held on the race track on Friday, March 9, at 6:15 p.m. Registration is still open at gpstpete5k.com.
Headlined by the Verizon IndyCar Series, the green flag will drop on 11 total races during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg weekend. The 110-lap IndyCar feature is set for Sunday, March 11, with an approximate start time of 12:30 p.m. EDT. Castroneves will handle grand marshal duties including giving the “drivers start your engines” command.