11th annual Firestone Grand Prix will attract 100,000 to St. Pete weekend

St. Pete IndyCar fans

More than 100,000 racing enthusiasts will converge March 29 on southwestern Florida for the 11th annual Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, marking the beginning of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Now more than a decade old, the Firestone Grand Prix is an important event in the Tampa/St. Pete community and an important event for the Firestone brand, officials say.

Lisa Boggs, director of Bridgestone Americas Motorsports, and Dale Harrigle, Bridgestone Motorsports chief engineer and manager of race tire development, said tire selection and strategy will play an important role in this season’s marquee races.

Harrigle has designed all types of tires for the Verizon IndyCar Series, from rain tires to the tires used at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He's overseen all development of race tires for the company and heads a talented group that designs tires for the most demanding of driving situations.

With nearly 20 years experience in the motorsports sphere, Boggs has seen firsthand the transformation of Verizon IndyCar Series. Bradenton Herald

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