St. Pete GP pit notes

Sarah Fisher Poised for Return to St. Petersburg
Sarah Fisher, one of the more popular drivers in the IZOD Indy Car Series will return to the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for the first time since 2007 and comes to town this year as the first female owner/driver in the series. Fisher, who is one of only three women who drive in the elite open-wheel series, has been voted the most popular driver in the league four times and has made seven starts in the famed Indianapolis 500. In her last appearance on a street course, Fisher finished 15th in St. Petersburg in 2007.

IndyCar Series Cars Get Reverse Gear . . .For The First Time
Our friends at tell us that for the first time, a reverse gear will be incorporated into all cars at the nine road and street courses set for 2010, including the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. With the additional gear, drivers who come into one of the turns on the 14-turn course through the streets of St. Petersburg, can back out of trouble and be on their way without losing much time. Drivers will retain the six forward gears and the reverse gear kit will not be applied at the oval races. A reverse gear was part of IndyCar racing previously, but not under the Indy Racing League sanction or at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

“I think it is a great idea," reigning IZOD Indy Car Series champion Dario Franchitti told “Hopefully it will cut down on full-course yellows and it will take some of the pressure off the safety team, too."

What the Drivers Have to Say About Racing in St. Petersburg
With the help of the IRL PR team, we recently caught up with a few drivers and had a chance to talk with them about racing in St. Petersburg. Here is what Raphael Matos, the 2009 Indy Car Rookie of the Year, had to say about the St. Petersburg track and the local area:

“I think St. Pete is a difficult place to race because it has fast corners and slow corner bumpy braking zones. It’s really a complete street course and there are a lot of places where you can hit a wall. You have to find the compromise between the fast corners and slow corners and run the car as low as you can. It’s just a complex track. I really like the area where we race. It’s right next to the water. I like to go running around there and I just like the atmosphere around the race track. I don’t have any special place to go, but I just love St. Pete."

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