St. Petersburg mayor confirms IndyCar opener is still on

The first round of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season will go ahead as planned, despite two cases of coronavirus being confirmed in Pinellas County.

The Tampa Bay Times, reporting from a news conference on Wednesday morning, quoted Mayor Rick Kriseman saying: “We are still a go for Sunday…

“If you don’t feel well, please stay home and watch the race on NBC Sports Network.

“As it relates to this race, attendees and residents of the city should know that we are taking every precaution we can to ensure it is a safe experience.”

He said the two locals who are confirmed as having coronavirus have had limited contact with other individuals and that the county remains “low risk”.

Kevin Savoree of Green Savoree Racing Promotions, owner of the event which this weekend will run for the 17th time, said there will be more wash stations than ever around the 1.8-mile downtown racecourse which incorporates part of Albert Whitted airport and more disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces.

“I know we’re going to provide a safe environment for a great race,” Savoree said. “I hope everybody comes out to watch it, because they’re going to put on a hell of a show.”

Currently there are no IndyCar schedule changes, nor does Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles expect any. The second round of the season, set for April 5, is the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, one of 12 states in the U.S. without any confirmed case of coronavirus.

Round three is due to be the 46th running of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, and the president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach Jim Michaelian is “actively monitoring” the coronavirus spread. LA County has 20 confirmed cases, but perhaps ominously the St Patrick’s Day street festival on Pine Avenue – part of the Long Beach IndyCar track – has been canned.

Despite the postponement of the MotoGP race at Circuit of The Americas that was due to be held on April 5, there has been no similar announcement regarding the AutoNation IndyCar Challenge set for April 26.

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