Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg gets green light

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The Firestone Grand Prix is underway in St. Petersburg, and fans are lining up to watch. Looking through the fences, the fans get a few seconds – every minute or so – to see the race cars go by, complete with a loud whoosh.

RELATED: New security measures installed at St. Pete Grand Prix

Jason Heironimus used to drive his Porche at Sebring. Heironimus goes to the Indy 500 every year.

“Sends shivers right up your spine. I mean … despite the fact that you’re sitting, standing still, I mean just talking about it right now, is giving me shivers,” he said.

St. Petersburg Grand Prix

On Friday morning the thing every racer dreads happened on the waterfront slight left. An Indy car sideswiped the wall and broke into pieces. The driver was able to get out. “I’m here for the turns and I’m here for the passes. The wrecks are not something I’m interested in at all. It’s unfortunately a part of the deal but it’s not something I enjoy at all,” Heironimus said.

RELATED: 2016 St. Pete Grand Prix set for March 11-13

This year, for the first time, fans had to go through metal detectors and bag checks in an enhanced security effort. Police equate it to what happens at football games or other events. It didn’t seem to hold up lines.

Inside, News Channel 8 found a fan with an autographed cap, which traveled all the way from Buffalo, New York. “I like the cars, the rush, ya know, passing. It’s exciting,” Sharon Zalemski said.

General admission on Saturday is $35. On Sunday, it’s $50. That’s when the race will be nationally televised.

RELATED: 2016 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – Fast facts for race fans

RELATED: Parking, free shuttle info for 2016 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

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