Rahal on St. Pete: Too much went into this to not see it through
Graham Rahal has thanked NTT IndyCar Series fans for their understanding in light of this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg being held without spectators present.
The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda driver tweeted out a video of himself explaining why he thought it was right for IndyCar to press on and race, despite the lack of crowd due to health concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Hey everybody, we’re down here in St. Pete,” Rahal began. “Obviously the news just came out that we will be racing in St. Pete this weekend; unfortunately it is closed to the fans, it’s closed to any of our partners; you can only get in if you have a hardcard.
“Certainly not ideal: our fans are what make our world go round. The atmosphere, the energy, the excitement that the fans provide is why we do what we do each and every weekend. We are a form of entertainment and if it wasn’t for you, the entertainment doesn’t exist.
“At the same time, I think it is clearly for the best. Right now we all need to be cautious and be aware of what we’re doing, so in consideration of that, I think it’s best that there aren’t fans here this weekend. I know I’m really disappointed in that, I know a lot of the other drivers and teams will be because we all thrive off the fan involvement and obviously we’re not going to have that.
“At the same time, I think it is the right decision for us to race. We’re different from other motorsports that are happening this weekend; this is a temporary street course. There’s been a lot of effort to build this track and for the city – I’m sure for Mayor Kriseman, it’s a hard time for him.
“There’s too much gone into this to not see it through, in my opinion. We can’t postpone these events – the track’s been built. If we postpone, it’s canceled, and so I think that is the challenge we kind of face inherently in our sport. We like to bring the party to the people; unfortunately sometimes that becomes the downside.
“But thank you all for your support, I want to thank you guys for your understanding. I hope that we still put on a tremendous show. It’s going to be a condensed weekend [but] we’ll put on a great show for you guys but hopefully we’ll get this #15 car in Victory Lane. It’s going to be on NBC Sports, 3.00 or 3.30, so make sure that you tune in and like I said, thank you guys so much for understanding and we’ll see you at the track soon."
A copy of the condensed timetable will be released later today, according to IndyCar.
IndyCar will race at St. Petersburg but with no fans allowed
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