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Honda Grand Prix Pit Notes #2
Motorsports Community Evenly Split on Super Bowl Picks

Drivers, league officials and promoters of the 2009 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg are closely following this week’s Super Bowl activities in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area.    As you would expect, many of them have a favorite picked to win the big game.  Some have personal connections to either the Steelers or the Cardinals and some may just be interested in the event, but all of them have an opinion on who will leave the area as the new Super Bowl champions.

Graham Rahal, defending Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg champion, says, “I hope the Steelers win. I have been a Steelers fan for as long as I can remember.  My family has a huge investment in the automotive industry in Pittsburgh. I like seeing them, and our dealerships, do well!!"

Danica Patrick, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., thinks the Cardinals are “the little team that could” and the NFC champions will bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Arizona.  Patrick is in good company, with Andretti Green Racing owner Kim Green looking for a Cardinals win as well. 

When we asked Patrick’s teammate Marco Andretti, he told us, “There is a Pennsylvania team playing in the Super Bowl and you’re asking me who I think will win? Seriously?”  We will take that as one for the Steelers.  And, fellow Andretti Green Racing driver Tony Kanaan agrees, telling us, “Go Steelers.”

Racing legend and promoter of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Michael Andretti still can’t believe the Cardinals beat the Eagles.  But, true to his roots, he is picking the Steelers in a close one, 20 – 17.  Kevin Savoree, managing director of the event, tells us it will be the Cardinals taking home the hardware, 31-24.  Savoree tells us he is “basically picking the Cardinals to get under Michael’s skin.”

Scott Atherton, head man over at the American Le Mans Series, says, “I have to go with Arizona. I was in Phoenix for the American Le Mans Series promoters meeting and the energy level there in anticipation of the final playoff game was – as they say “palpable.  They are obviously having a Cinderella Season – and I believe they are going to ride the wave right on through to a Super Bowl victory.”

Chris Dyson, who drives for Dyson Racing in the ALMS, tells us “I have to go with the Steelers. So many of our guys have ties to the Pittsburgh area and are really big fans. So the whole team is rooting for the Steelers and they’d be crushed if Arizona won.”  Johnny O’Connell, of Corvette Racing is going with Arizona, saying, “You have to like (Kurt) Warner at quarterback. That’s a great good-guy story. Plus it’d be nice to see someone new win it.”

St. Petersburg resident, and winner of the inaugural Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Dan Wheldon is picking the Steelers, as is Dario Franchitti.  Now that Franchitti is back in the IndyCar Series driving for Pittsburgh-resident Chip Ganassi, his pick of the Steelers is probably a wise one.

While many of those surveyed for this week’s Pit Notes had an opinion on who would win, Tim Ramsberger, Vice President and General Manager of the event at Andretti Green Promotions, was bold enough to put a score on the table.  Ramsberger says it will be the Cardinals in a close one, 35 – 31.  But, he admits it might be based “more in hope that reality.”

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