De Silvestro back for Andretti again in NOLA

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Simona de Silvestro has her third confirmed race with Andretti Autosport, as she’ll be back in the team’s No. 25 Honda for this weekend’s Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana.

In support of the local community, de Silvestro will be carrying Ochsner Health System’s branding on her No. 25 machine, along with the Racing for Kids badge. The racing veteran will join Racing for Kids to visit young patients at Ochsner Hospital for Children on Thursday, leading up to the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana.

She qualified well at St. Petersburg in 11th, second of Andretti’s four drivers, in her first IndyCar race in more than a year. However her race was a struggle and she’ll look to improve on that.

“It’s great to get another shot in the car and improve on everything we learned in St. Petersburg,” de Silvestro said in a release. “I’m really looking forward to being able to work with everyone again and hopefully have a better race! I’m really thankful for all that Michael (Andretti) and everyone at Andretti Autosport have been doing to make all of this happen.”

“Simona obviously didn’t have the greatest outcome in St. Pete, but she was always up there fighting to get ahead,” said Michael Andretti, president, chairman and CEO of Andretti Autosport. “She proved herself both on and off the track. The great thing about Simona is that she keeps her head down and continues to push – she fights hard. We’re happy to be able to bring her back for another round before the Indy 500.”

She has also been confirmed to the team’s TE Connectivity-backed No. 29 Honda for the Indy 500.

IndyCar’s season finale at St. Pete approved to have 20,000 fans

IndyCar St. Pete fans
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ season finale will be permitted up to 20,000 fans, making the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg possibly the circuit’s most well-attended race of 2020. The race originally was scheduled as the season opener before being moved to Oct. 25 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has enjoyed limited crowds at Road America, Iowa Speedway, Gateway, Mid-Ohio and this weekend’s doubleheader races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which could have up to 10,000 fans in attendance. That had been the largest maximum grandstand crowd for an IndyCar race this season.

At a St. Petersburg city council meeting Thursday, Mayor Rick Kriseman approved plans by race organizers Green Savoree Racing Promotions to hold the Oct. 23-25 weekend for the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Pete with 20,000 fans who would follow health and safety protocols that include mandatory temperature checks and masks.

 “My thanks to Green Savoree Racing Promotions and IndyCar for their flexibility and resilience during this challenging time,” Kriseman said in a release. “I know that everyone is excited to get back on the track in St. Pete. I can’t wait for Oct. 23rd. I know everyone will embrace this race the St. Pete way, adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Let’s have some great racing in the Sunshine City.”

Paddock and the pit lane will remain closed to spectators, and social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed on site.

“Our entire team greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of our ticket holders as we worked through this process with Mayor Kriseman, City Council and local health officials,” Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Promotions. “It’s important for everyone who attends to read and follow all the COVID-19 protocols to contribute to a fun, safe and successful event for us all.”

“The ongoing guidance and support of Mayor Kriseman, City Council, and the City of St. Petersburg’s event team have been phenomenal,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of Green Savoree Promotions. “We also would not be in this position to move this spring tradition to fall without Firestone’s unwavering commitment and dedication. It’s going to be a terrific weekend again in downtown St. Pete in three weeks featuring world-class racing from INDYCAR.”