There’s a lot to be said about St. Petersburg, Florida. It’s a beautiful city with some great people, and if you happen to be there on just the right day, you’re bound to get caught in a torrential downpour that can only be compared to some level of Dante’s Inferno… but with water. And if you’re REALLY lucky, that day happens to be race day.
But never fear… because if you stick around for just one more day, the rain will subside, the clouds will part, the wets will go on, then they’ll come off, then the slicks will go on, you’ll hear the command, and the world will be a wonderful place.
If you’re looking for lap-by-lap coverage of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, you’ve absolutely come to the wrong place. (But check out the blog roll to the right, for some of my awesome IndyCar blogger colleagues have got ya covered). What you WILL find here is what I like to call my St. Pete Aha! moment.
On Friday night, I was lucky enough to attend the local 100th anniversary celebration of the Boy Scouts of America at the Great Explorations Children’s Museum. If you haven’t noticed, their emblem is beaming from the chassis of Alex Lloyd’s car this year. Special props to Dale Coyne for his partnership with the organization. Words can’t describe the excitement on these kids’ faces as they got to meet Alex, get his autograph, sit in his (show) car and do a Q&A session. Maybe this pic will do it justice:
As a side note, we were fairly certain some of those adult Boy Scouts were still wearing their original uniforms. Either get a new uniform or stop trying to earn your fast food badge. Ahem.
After the event, you could sense the excitement from both the kids and their parents, all anxious to head out to the track on Sunday and cheer Alex on. As you can imagine, most of them weren’t IndyCar fans before that night. Which got me thinking two things…
1. The IICS needs more events like this.
2. The events need more media coverage.
Where was the media for something like this?! Feel-good story of the year? I think so. Small local story plus big local event equals more fan interaction and interest. And all it takes is a press release and some follow up.
In an almost ironic twist, as if the racing gods were angry with this lack of coverage, I happened to be walking through the hotel lobby on Sunday night and caught this:
You mean to tell me that an event this big comes to town and – although delayed for a day – THIS is how you cover it? Yes, random TV station, it DID rain that day. And yes, we looked like flippin’ idiots trying to find the holes in our ponchos, but WHAT ABOUT THE RACE?! You’ve got drivers who live in St. Pete. You’ve got recognizable names from the series who you could’ve interviewed about their strategy. You could have talked about where the next stop on the schedule is. Or how die-hard fans have traveled from all over the country (and Canada!) to see this race because it’s something you don’t want to miss. But ponchos? Pfft. St. Pete local news crew, I shake my plastic-covered fist at you.