ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Indy racecar drivers are in the streets of downtown St. Petersburg for the Firestone Grand Prix.
The event's signature race is taking place Sunday. The 110-lap Indy Car race that covers almost two miles of downtown St. Pete streets begins at 1:40 p.m.
Here are six things to know about the Grand Prix:
1. This is the 9th year the Firestone Grand Prix has kicked off the NTT IndyCar Series Season.
2. There are a total of 11 races scheduled this year.
3. Drivers will compete on a 14-turn 1.8 mile track in downtown St. Petersburg.
4. About 100,000 people are expected to attend this weekend's festivities.
5. According to the City of St. Petersburg, race weekend generates an economic impact of approximately $48 million.
6. In 2018, the event attracted ticket buyers from 49 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and 14 other countries.
Dan Wheldon Memorial
In the center of St. Petersburg's 14-turn downtown street course, among the revving engines and speeding IndyCars, sits a memorial in honor of racing champion Dan Wheldon.
Before heading out to the track on Sunday, Wheldon's two sons stopped to take a photo next to dad's plaque.
"I enjoy it, it's just mixed emotions," said Susie Wheldon, Dan's widow. "Every year is a little bit different."
It has been more than seven years since St. Petersburg's hometown racing champion, Dan Wheldon, died in a fiery wreck while competing in Las Vegas. Susie became a widow and single mother to their two young sons.
At 10 and 7, the two boys are already following dad's lead. They are not only IndyCar fans but getting into the sport themselves.
"From a mother's standpoint you always have some worry in the back of your mind, but you have to just live your life and put your fears aside, you don't want it to consume you and control your life," Susie said.