Tampa Rays pitcher Alex Cobb named 'honorary starter' for 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Tampa Rays pitcher Alex Cobb to be honorary starter for March 29 Grand Prix of St. Pete / Headline Surfer®Grand Prix of St.Pete / Headline Surfer®Photos & graphics for Headline Surfer® /
The opening race of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series begins with the March 27-29 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Tampa Rays pitcher Alex Cobb, shown here at left, is the honorary starter for the opening rce of the 2015 IndyCar Series. Wide receiver Vincent Jackson, shown below, is the grand marshal for the opening race.
 

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Alex Cobb is trading in his fastball for the fast lane to serve as the honorary starter for the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the season-opening Verizon IndyCar Series race, which begins at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 29.

"We are excited to have Alex join us as Honorary Starter for the big race," said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and chief operating officer of Green Savoree Racing Promotions, organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. "Being in the starter's stand and waving the green flag is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We hope he enjoys the incredible view up there; he'll truly have a front row seat for the start of the race."

Cobb has already been named to start the Rays season-opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field on April 6. The 27-year-old right-hander has posted a winning record in each of his four Major League Baseball seasons and has won 10 or more games in each of the past three campaigns. He fashioned with a 10-9 record in 2014, and sixth in the American League with a 2.87 earned run average.

"I am really excited about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Cobb said of being named the honorary starter, and as a particpipant in other pre-race ceremonies. "I'm starting an IndyCar race one week and Opening Day the next. Plus, it's an honor to represent the Rays at an event that has become so important to our community and one that helps make Tampa Bay such a great place to live."

"I am really excited about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Tampa Rays pitcher Alex Cobb said of being named the honorary starter, and as a particpipant in other pre-race ceremonies for the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. "I'm starting an IndyCar race one week and Opening Day the next. Plus, it's an honor to represent the Rays at an event that has become so important to our community and one that helps make Tampa Bay such a great place to live."

Cobb isn't the only Tampa Bay-area pro-athlete taking part in the racing festivities.

Vincent Jackson og Tampa Bay Bucs to serve as grand marshal of Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete / Headline Surfer®Vincent Jackson, Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will serve as the grand marshal for the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
 

Vincent Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL, will serve as the grand marshal leading up to the start of the 110-lap race on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit.

Since joining the Buccaneers in 2012, Jackson has recorded three consecutive seasons with more than 1,000 yards receiving and 17 touchdowns. He has been named the team's "Man of the Year" – honoring his leadership both on the field and in the community – the past two seasons.

"I have the utmost respect for all of the drivers, crew members and teams that will be competing at the event, and can't wait to join them on the track," Jackson said of his upcoming duties as grand marshal for the Firestone Grand Prix race. "It's a great chance to showcase not only the city of St. Petersburg, but the entire Bay Area on a national stage, and I am excited to help represent Tampa Bay as the Verizon IndyCar Series kicks off its season."

2014 Firestone Grand Prix of St Pete results / Headline Surfer®2014 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersbueg Race Recap:

• Will Power won the 2014 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the Verizon IndyCar Series opening race. • Ryan Hunter-Reay, who finished second, would go on to win the Indianapolis 500. And • Helio Castroneves, who finished third in the opening race, would finish second in the Indy 500.
• Power would finish 8th at Indy.
• Power would go on to win the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship.

FAST FACTS: Baseball vs. INDYCAR

• 10 inches – Height of an MLB pitchers mound 13 feet, 3 inches - Height of the Firestone Grand Prix starter stand
• 94 mph – An Alex Cobb fastball 100 mph – An IndyCar's deceleration before hitting pit lane
• 4 seconds – Average time to cover 30 yards from first to second base 1 second – Average time for an IndyCar to cover 100 yards
• 4 – Cobb struck out four batters in one inning in 2013 4 – Verizon IndyCar Series driver Will Power won four consecutive poles for St. Petersburg race
• 60 feet, 6 inches – Distance Cobb throws a ball to hit mark 40 feet – Length of pit box for drivers to hit mark
• 17 inches – Width of home plate 39 inches – Width of finish line for Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
• Tickets to the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg are available now and can be purchased online at www.gpstpete.com or by phone at 1-877-725-8849.

Did You Know?

Now in its 11th year, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is run on a 1.8-mile, 14-turn waterfront circuit that includes a combination of adjacent downtown streets circling Pioneer Park, the Duke Energy Center for the Arts, The Dali Museum and extending onto the runways at Albert Whitted Airport, which overlook the Tampa Bay and picturesque St. Petersburg Harbor and Marina. The event is organized and operated by Green Savoree Racing Promotions.
 
To learn more about the event, visit gpstpete.com, 'like' its Facebook page at facebook.com/GPSTPETE or follow the event on Twitter @GPSTPETE #FirestoneGP.

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Posted Sun, 2014-05-25 23:16
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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.