Media…Start your Engines!

By on March 6, 2012

Peter Dempsey gets Rocket Sports & Entertainment started. (photo by Rodney Meyering)

Drivers run to the cars to get the race started al la 1950's Lemans style, run Pete run! (photo by Rodeny Meyering)

Palmetto, Fla.  (Tuesday February 28, 2012)  – It was a beautiful, warm afternoon

For City of St. Petersburg bragging rights. Mayor Bill Foster (left) with Tony Leno. We wonder if Tony placed his trophy in City Hall? (photo by Rodney Meyering)

on February 28th… the scene, Anderson Race Park in Palmetto.   It is a kind of a start your engines for the Tampa Bay area media to get hyped up on the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

A  Go Kart race that pits the media outlets against each other with each team having 4 members that team up with a professional driver.  The pro starts out driving the first leg and then in relay style than the other drivers take their turn with the pro finishing the last leg.

For the second year in as many tries the Rocket Sports & Entertainment Network team finished 2nd out of ten teams.

This year’s team for Rocket Sports & Entertainment was Rick Sassone, Bob Meyering and Rodney Meyering, the team was also joined by Tony Leno, from the City of St. Petersburg.  Tony, in charge of capital projects,  manages the team that is responsible for converting the streets of downtown St. Petersburg into one of the most picturesque Indy road courses in the world.  (TRACK MAP)

Give us the trophy! The Rocket Sports & Entertainment Network Team finished 2nd. (left to right) Rick Sassone, Tony Leno, Rodney Meyering, Bob Meyering and Peter Demsey. (RSEN staff photo)

“A main factor in two consecutive 2nd place finishes both year’s is we were paired with professional drivers that really took an interest in our organization.  Rodney Meyering, our motor sports writer and photographer has so much in depth knowledge about racing the professional driver’s know he’s serious,” said Rick Sassone, Publisher and Host of Rocket Sports & Entertainment.  “Peter Dempsey really wanted to help us win.”


Dan Carroll of the ABC Action News Team studies the track while waiting for his turn. (Rodney Meyering photo)

John Thomas from ABC Action News gets ready for his run. (photo by Rodney Meyering)


RS: What advice were you able to give the amateurs to help secure a 2nd place finish?

PD: Number 1, was to keep out of trouble and be consistent. Also with go karting it’s very important to have a small amount of steering input along with trying to not over use the brakes. These were the main things! I also made sure to let them know to come into the pits as fast as possible. I think all this

Bob Meyering getting ready to tear out of pit road. (photo by Rodney Meyering)

helped along with our awesome pit stops, we brought it home P2!

RS: The kart seemed to give you some trouble on the on final leg you drove but you managed to hold second place…what happened and how were you able to overcome it?

PD: You’re right, we were running so well and I was making sure to bring it home in P2, then the kart started to cut out all the time! Luckily with my mechanical background, I found that a lead had come undone. I fixed that but then realized that wasn’t the problem. It was something with the fuel tank, the only thing I could do for the last two laps was to pull start the engine while I was still driving! It wasn’t easy as I had left my bulging biceps at home for the day!

RS: What you looking forward most to racing in st petersburg?

Keenan and Annie Meyering cheer on the Rocket Sports team from the press box. (RSEN staff photo)

PD: I am most looking forward to race day, having all the fans at the track enjoying the activities around the track. The autograph sessions and really interacting with the fans is what makes everything worth it. Then to have the full Mazda Road to Indy ladder series racing over the weekend also is just perfect. No.1 on my list is being able to watch the first race of the new era of IndyCar with the DW(Dan Wheldon)12 car making its debut. Having 30 turbo charged engines heading into Turn 1 at St.Pete, it can’t get much better than that!

RS: Why is st pete a great place to start off the season?

PD: St.Petersburg is the best place to open up the IZOD IndyCar season. The hype around the area is so big and the whole town really looks forward to having the IZOD IndyCar series in town. The weather is normally perfect (apart from 2010), and you cant beat driving a street course like St.Pete. It’s one of the coolest tracks I have raced on, and I am looking forward to trying to get on the top step of the podium on March 25th!

Professional driver and St. Petersburg resident Shannon McIntosh gives her team some last minute advice after coming off the track (Rodney Meyering photo)



Professional driver Shea Holbrook was on hand to address the media before the race. (photo by Rodney Meyering)

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