Vincent Jackson

Organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg are incorporating local sports stars into the Verizon IndyCar Series race festivities March 29.

Vincent Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will serve as the grand marshal. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Alex Cobb will serve as the honorary starter, waving the green flag to mark the opening of the season and 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. "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."

Click it: Get tickets for the season-opening race featuring debut of aero kits

Cobb has been named to start the Rays' season opener against the Baltimore Orioles on April 6 at Tropicana Field. The right-hander has posted a winning record in each of his four major league seasons.

“I am really excited about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “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.”

Click to open the high-res infographic on Alex Cobb
Alex Cobb Infographic