ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 4, 2023) – Shaquem Griffin, a St. Petersburg, Fla. native and former NFL linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks, and current Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen have been added to the slate of VIPs participating in pre-race roles tomorrow at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding.

Griffin and Rasmussen will join legendary LPGA golfer Annika Sorenstam, multi-platinum entertainer and TV/film actor Trace Adkins, actor/producer Simu Liu and other VIPs with pre-race duties tomorrow before the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opener on the streets of downtown St. Petersburg. Rasmussen will command the drivers to their cars, and Griffin, as the honorary starter, will wave the green flag over the 27-car field led by pole sitter Romain Grosjean, driver of the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda, for the 100-lap race on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street course.

Adkins will perform the national anthem as two F-16 Fighting Falcons from Homestead Air Reserve Base fly over the track and the color guard from American Legion Post 273 Madeira Beach presents the flags. Sorenstam, an Orlando, Fla. resident, will serve as the grand marshal and announce the most famous words in motorsports: ‘Drivers start your engines.’ Liu, the star of Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings,” will ride in the Fastest Seat in Sports, leading the full field of drivers to the green flag.

“We are excited to add two outstanding local sports figures in Shaquem Griffin and Drew Rasmussen to the pre-race festivities for tomorrow’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding,” said Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Racing Promotions, organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding. “Griffin and Rasmussen are both admired in the Tampa Bay area for their athletic contributions, and we look forward to the excitement they will bring to race day.” 

Tickets are still available for tomorrow’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding, March 3-5, at For ticket prices, event schedule and festival information, visit Follow Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding on social media using @gpstpete and #FirestoneGP for the latest updates. Joining the E-Club also provides insider access to the latest news and offers.