Touring the Paddocks

The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, held on March 22-24th, gave 40 students from Northeast High School’s Automotive Technology Education Center a very unique learning experience. Students explored the paddocks, interacted with chief mechanics and crew members, toured team garages and gained perspective on how their knowledge from the classroom transfers directly into racing.

IMG_0006Students interacted with the Firestone mechanic who explained the tires used throughout the weekend. Tires are leased from Firestone and cost the teams roughly $650 per tire. Concerned about the weather for the weekend, students asked about how rain would affect the cars’ grip on the track. Here’s a video to explain:


IMG_0018Thanks to Firestone racing for passing out bright red hats to the students!


Team Pelfrey‘s engineer Stefan Dwornik showed students the technology under the “hood” of the ProMazda series car.


The students were able to tour the team’s office.


IMG_0030Another picture showing technology’s relevance  in racing.


Mike Morrisey, CFO of Green Savoree Racing Promotions, taught students about the preparation that goes into making the race a success. Safety is extremely important, and many precautions are taken to ensure risk is minimized. For example, each cement block lining the track weighs 4,000 pounds.



Every car must go through tech inspection before being allowed access onto the race track. If a car fails the inspection, the team must return to the paddocks and to work on the car until it meets the standards. The mechanics inspect the top 5 race cars after racing and also perform random inspections to ensure all teams did not alter the car between inspection and the races. If a top car fails, they are disqualified from any winnings. Pressure is high!


The Go Daddy race car going through tech inspection. This team placed 1st in the races on Sunday!


1st place winner James Hinchcliff! Find more pictures at


The students gathered around to hear details about the tech inspection and which specifications are needed to meet the standards.

IMG_0051Group picture of Northeast High School students, teachers, and chaperones at the pedestrian walkway.


Thanks to Bryan Herta AutosportTribridge, and myMatrixx for sponsoring the Grand Prix event!

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