I am so sorry that I have to be the one to tell you this, but the NTT IndyCar Series does not need to cancel this weekend’s race. I know. You’ve probably heard about Formula One cancelling its Russian Grand Prix and may be wondering why IndyCar has failed to cancel its season opener in St. Petersburg. I understand the desire for some performative outrage. But folks — IndyCar’s St. Petersburg is in Florida, not Russia.
I know it may be difficult to believe me, but allow me to consult a map. This is the location of St. Petersburg, Russia:
And this is the location of St. Petersburg, Florida:
St. Petersburg, Russia is 5298.95 miles (or 8527.83 kilometers) away from St. Petersburg, Florida. They are on two separate continents.
If you’re having a hard time believing me, here is the track map for the 2021 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which takes place near Tampa Bay, which is located in Florida:
I do not believe there is anywhere in St. Petersburg, Russia called the “Tropicana Bus Stop,” but I am willing to be proven wrong.
I can further vouch personally for the IndyCar Series, as I have been to the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was a brief flight from my home in Austin, Texas and did not require a passport to get there. It was also very warm and muggy in March in St. Petersburg, Florida, which would not be the case in St. Petersburg, Russia. I also do not think Russians serve fried alligator and Busch Light at their bars, which I consumed copious amounts of in St. Petersburg, Florida. But again, I am willing to be proven wrong.
If this lesson in basic geopolitics seems unnecessary, confusing, or unprecedented, then I’m going to assume you do not suffer the misfortune of being Aggressively On Line. Over on Twitter dot com, a handful of folks have wondered aloud why IndyCar should dare host a race in St. Petersburg after Russia began an unprompted invasion of Ukraine.
My fellow writer Owen Bellwood brought this to my attention after he finished his blog about Formula One cancelling the Russian Grand Prix.
“Do people actually think IndyCar is racing in Russia this weekend?” he asked in our Slack chat. “Don’t know if I’m being dumb, but it’s tricky to tell who seriously thinks it is.”
Mere moments later, one of the tweets in question popped up on my timeline.
“Absolutely the right call for Formula 1 to scrap the Russian Grand Prix,” the tweet in question read. “Even though it’s still months away, it send a clear message that what’s going on in Ukraine isn’t ok. Meanwhile indycar is set to race in St Petersburg this weekend...”
I thought that perhaps it was a joke — a bad joke, but a joke nonetheless — until I searched “IndyCar Russia” on Twitter and found a treasure trove.
One person lamented, “wait fuck- indycar is in russia this week…”
Another tweeted, “Come on now @fia and #indycar, cancel all races in Russia! Putin cares more about sports than people.”
After Will Buxton tweeted a photo of his IndyCar credentials for the weekend, someone asked, “isn’t that in russia? what am i missing.”
Someone asked in Portuguese, “Indycar opens its season this weekend in St. Petersburg, will the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine affect the American category?”
So, as a quick reminder: IndyCar is a North American race series that does not race outside of North America. If you’re looking for a little distraction from the tone of the news this weekend, you can check out the season opener, which takes place in St. Petersburg, which is in Florida and not Russia.