It’s a beautiful day at Long Beach for the 35th Annual Toyota Grand Prix. The temperatures reached 94 by noon. Skies are blue and there are people everywhere. And lots of skin. Photographers will have a field day with all the skimpy outfits

Saturday evening JIM MICHAELIAN, President of Grand Prix of Long Beach Association, wouldn’t quote specific figures, but did say that Friday’s attendance was up 10-12 per cent. Saturday’s attendance was flat, about the same as last year, although there was some walk-up, mostly General Admission. He couldn’t yet equate any stats to the ‘Castroneves effect’ but should on Sunday. The retail vendors seem pleased..if you could get close enough to ask.

In the Sunday morning warmup, Rookie RAPHAEL MATOS/No.2 Luczo Dragon Racing was fastest, followed by Rookie MIKE CONWAY/No.24 Dreyer & Reinbold, JUSTIN WILSON/No.18 Dale Coyne Racing, SCOTT DIXON/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and DAN WHELDON/No.4 Panther Racing.

IndyCar driver, HELIO CASTRONEVES/No.3 Team Penske was cleared to drive after Saturday’s whack into the wall giving him a headache. A crew had told me Saturday night that he was fine, and fixing the car would be no problem – just throw some new parts on and he’d be good to go. He was tenth. All 23 drivers were on course.

Thursday TERRY ANGSTADT, Indy Racing League President, Commercial Division, spoke at “The Race Goes Green” conference. Among the things he said was that IRL “was looking at a couple of new markets, possibly as soon as next year.” How coincidental that a large contingent of Brazilians are visiting the IRL paddock this weekend, including the mayor of the area interested in having an IRL race. Some of the gossip in the paddock has China being another venue.

The series which started as an American series for American drivers on oval tracks has evolved into an international series. It races in Motegi Japan, and runs a variety of ovals, road courses and street circuits. The 23-car field at Long Beach includes six Americans, five Brazilians, four Brits, two Australians; and one each from Canada, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, and Venezuela,

Firestone has brought two sets of tires for the IndyCar race. The primary tires (blacks) this weekend are different and harder, than the opening race at St. Petersburg. The alternate tires (reds) are the same as St. Pete.

Regarding the engine package for 2010, Angstadt said a group of manufacturers was formed, at the Board level, and IRL is hoping to hear from them soon.

The IndyCar race will start 1:30PM PDT and shown live on VERSUS.