Here comes the Honda Grand Prix - FOX 13 News

Here comes the Honda Grand Prix

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

High-speed cars, fearless drivers and thousands of fans: In just a few days, they'll take over downtown St. Pete.

"Everything will start getting pretty hyperactive here in the next 48 hours, but we'll be ready to race," said Tim Ramsberger, president of the Honda Grand Prix.

Crews are hard at work, turning these city streets into an Indy-style racetrack. The concrete barricades, steel cables and fencing that make up the massive safety barriers are nearly complete. So are the grandstands.

Now, it's time for everyone else to start moving in.

"We start loading tomorrow with all the race teams, all the hospitality tents, the vendors, so the circus starts to roll in pretty heavily tomorrow morning," Ramsberger said.

The 1.8 mile track hugs the waterfront, circling the Mahaffey Theater, the Dali Museum and the Albert Whitted Airport. The preparations have been going on for weeks.

"The noise, the rubber, the excitement, that's when you know it's race day!" said St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster.

People who live and work downtown have had to put up with all the construction and the inconvenience that comes with it. It takes more than a month to build. 

Several downtown streets are closed and will stay closed through the weekend. But after nine years hosting the event, Mayor Foster said the benefits far outweigh the burden.

"Not only is this a three-hour commercial, but they talk about St. Pete for the entire year. It's a great commercial. It's a great marketing tool, and we love it. It's good for the city," Foster said.

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