Long Beach in the spring and you can smell the race fuel and rubber in the air. Tax time is behind us so shift gears to the streets of Long Beach just like Helio Castroneves did after beating tax evasion charges. Open wheel cars are the main attraction during Grand Prix weekend April 16 17 and 18, with Indycar center stage Sunday the 18th. Indy lights on Sunday, American Le Mans Saturday afternoon and World Challenge racing late Sunday any one of these races alone would make a great weekend in Long Beach but combine that with Drifting, Celebrity racing, concerts, venders, expos and Southern California weather and you have a must do event. It all began in the fall of 1975 with Brian Redman winning the race in a Formula 5000. Over the years the big attraction has always been fast open wheel street track racing including Formula one, CART and now Indy cars.
This type of auto racing is more than just a gathering of fast cars, fast drivers. Because street racecourses such as the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach stirs a
buzz of adrenalin into downtown that is real and hard to resist. The list of racer’s include Briscoe, Dixon, Tagliani, Danica, Castroneves, Weldon, Sato, Franchitti, Kanaan, Power, Andretti and Rahal not to mention the rest of the field and teams. This event is worth the price of the ticket because it’s great car racing, great people watching, great energy and a whole lot of top-notch fun, food and entertainment all wrapped up in a Monaco-Marina setting with yachts and the Queen Mary as the backdrop. What can I tell you auto racing doesn’t get much better than this?
Last year Dario Franchitti won at Long Beach and then the championship for Target Ganassi Racing. He is a very good at Long Beach along with teammate Scott Dixion. But remember 08’s winner Will Power along with his Team Penske teammates Ryan Brisco and Helio Castroneves can win there on any given day. But the field is deep and with names like Andretti, Patrick, Kanaan, Tagliani, Weldon and so the competition will be tough and the racing anything but dull.
Porsche, Audi, Mazda, Cadillac, Corvette, Jaguar, Viper, Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Ford, Panoz, Honda, Peugeot and Lola are names that evoke a passion for sports cars and you’ll find that passion boils over into the streets Long Beach, you can’t get away from it and when Sunday evening arrives and it’s time to go home just remember the Grand Prix is just a year away.