SBD/April 19, 2013/Events and Attractions

Long Beach Grand Prix Weekend Gets Under Way Friday With Racing Under The Lights

More than 170,000 patrons are expected for this weekend's Long Beach Grand Prix
The Izod IndyCar Series Long Beach Grand Prix each year "adds something to its menu of speed and entertainment to make the biggest event in town a little bigger and better," and this year's additions include "night racing, with Drifting events" set for Friday and Saturday, according to Bob Keisser of the Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM. LBGP President & CEO Jim Michaelian said, "We should get 170,000 for the weekend. If the weather is good, maybe 70,000 to 75,000 on Sunday. Saturday has become our strongest day with the concert and Drifting. We added another event to Saturday's lineup, so we'll see how things play out." Keisser writes it is "hard to imagine any race weekend being as packed as the one the Grand Prix schedules each year." Fans do not need to "know how to build an IndyCar engine to figure out that there's 37 hours of Grand Prix on tap this weekend." It is "intriguing to hear that one of the parties aligned with F1 CEO Bernie Eccelstone" in his reported interest in buying the Long Beach Grand Prix "is Grand Prix creator Chris Pook." Keisser writes Pook "exited years ago and has dabbled in other ventures, but I'm sure he looks at the terrain and sees opportunity on two levels -- one, getting back to F1, which was his race of choice when he launched the series in 1975, and two, making money." When the race was "sold to Dover Motorsports, Pook and friends made $98 million in stock and cash." The race today is "worth at least twice that with the comeback of IndyCar and the expansion of the race weekend under Michaelian" (Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM, 4/19).

LONG BEACH PART OF LE MANS SERIES? In Pasadena, David Felton wrote the future of sports car racing in North America "became apparent earlier this year when its two premiere series -- the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Series -- announced their merger for the 2014 season." What is not as clear is "whether Long Beach will be part of that future." ALMS President & CEO Scott Atherton when asked if United SportsCar Racing would return for the '14 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach said, "We certainly hope so. ... It's a very important market for us." He added that the '14 schedule -- as well as TV details and title sponsorship -- should be "finalized by June or July, and will include between 10 and 12 events" (PASADENA STAR-NEWS, 4/18).
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