Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete evacuated grandstands due to we - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete evacuated grandstands due to weather

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Hundreds of Grand Prix spectators had to take cover Saturday as severe storms moved through the area.

“I would say there were a couple strikes of lightning, not as bad as I thought. But my phone said severe lighting storm, it said tornado warning, it said all those things so I guess I can understand why they turned us away,” said Ziya Kardas.

“We were walking up and someone turned us away because the weather was going to be so ugly,” said Chris Sphar.

Race officials said dozens gathered in the Mahaffey Theater as they took cover. Others went to local restaurants and parking garages.

The rain cleared around 4 p.m. and street sweepers began going over the race course to collect any standing water. Before 5p.m. the racing was back underway. The Pirelli World Challenge and Indy Lights events were canceled. The USF2000, Pro Mazda and Verizon Indy Car series started late.

Sunday’s schedule is expected to remain the same.

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