St. Petersburg IndyCar Saturday Notebook
James Davison, who competed in Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in 2008 and 2009, is at St. Petersburg this weekend working as a driver coach for Rodrigo Barbosa in Firestone Indy Lights and Milka Duno in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Davison is recovering from internal injuries suffered in a snowboarding accident in February.
JAMES DAVISON: "I'm just trying to make the best of my off time."
Alex Lloyd has two young daughters, so he's somewhat familiar with high activity levels.
But a visit to the Great Explorations Children's Museum on Friday night with a group of area Boy Scouts was a totally new experience.
Lloyd, driver of the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America car for Dale Coyne Racing, signed autographs and answered numerous questions about the car and being a race car driver.
In January, Dale Coyne Racing and the Boy Scouts of America formed an alliance to promote and help commemorate the 100th anniversary of the BSA. The Boy Scouts of America and Dale Coyne Racing will use the IZOD IndyCar Series as a platform to promote science, technology and math at Indy Racing League race events.
Serving almost 2.8 million young people between the ages of 7 and 20 with more than 290 local councils throughout the United States and its territories, the Boy Scouts of America is the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.
ALEX LLOYD (About trip to Children's Museum): "So fun. So crazy and energetic."
DALE COYNE: "This is a program with true heart - from watching a young boy's first Pinewood Derby to helping him learn and apply the disciplines of science and technology using the excitement of IndyCar."
ROBERT MAZZUCA (Chief Scouting Executive, Boy Scouts of America): "This marks the beginning of an exciting series of planned activities both on and off the track for our nearly 3 million scouts. It's great to see the local councils get involved with this exciting and technologically advanced marketing venture for the Boy Scouts of America."
Florida National Guard member and Iraqi war veteran Brent Hinson is the National Guard Panther Racing "Hometown Hero" for the race weekend in St. Petersburg.
Hinson, a resident of Titusville, Fla., joined Panther driver Dan Wheldon at the autograph session and signed a specially-made "Hero Card" with his picture and biography on one side and Wheldon's on the other. He also will be honored in the National Guard's hospitality area and recognized on the pre-race stage.
CDT Hinson is an infantryman in the University of South Florida Suncoast Batallion Army ROTC, C Company 53rd Brigade Support Battalion. He was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, in October 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is majoring in biomedical sciences at USF and is scheduled to graduate in August 2010.
Army Gen. David Petraeus, the Commander of U.S. Central Command and former Commanding General of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, was reunited with wounded Army veteran Brian Brennan at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for the inaugural 5K Run, Walk and Wheel-a-thon Friday, March 26 to support spinal cord injury/paralysis research and wounded veterans. More than 1,200 participated in the event, including Brennan and Petraeus.
Petraeus is the grand marshal of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: "I've had a broken pelvis and I've been shot, but none of that compares with what these great young troopers are going through, and the spirit that they display I find absolutely inspirational," he said. "They often thank us for giving them energy; it's the other way around."
Sage Karam of Andretti Autosport won the pole today for the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda race with a top lap of 1 minute, 13.384 seconds, 88.303 mph.
The USF2000 series is the entry level of the Road to Indy ladder system to reach the IZOD IndyCar Series. The middle level is the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear; the top level is Firestone Indy Lights.
Karam, 15, from Nazareth, Pa., signed with Andretti Autosport earlier this month as part of the team's driver development program through the Road to Indy.
SAGE KARAM: "We ended up qualifying P1 by seven-tenths of a second. We definitely picked up some speed. It really gives me a strong mental game going in knowing that I'm on the front row, and I really have a good shot at winning the race. I couldn't have done it without the crew; my manager, Michael Fux; Michael Andretti; Comfort Revolution and all of our sponsors. I'm so happy with our results today."
Conor Daly won the pole today for the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear race with a top lap of 1 minute, 10.352 seconds, 92.108 mph.
The Star Mazda series is the middle level of the Road to Indy ladder system to reach the IZOD IndyCar Series. The entry level is the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda; the top level is Firestone Indy Lights.
Daly, 18, from Noblesville, Ind., is the son of Indianapolis 500 and Formula One veteran Derek Daly.