Long Beach Ticket Entrance

It’s Friday for the first of the three day Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, featuring IZOD IndyCar, Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series, Pirelli World Challenge Series, Firestone Indy Lights, Toyota Pro-Celebrities, and a couple of edgy groups utilizing different portions of the track – Formula Drift, and Robby Gordon’s Stadium Truck Series. And that’s just on the track. Off-track there is the Lifestyle Expo and many places to walk and view, things to do, and a variety of food and beverage vendors.

The weather is warm and sunny – sunscreen hot actually. Quite the contrast to last year’s cold and wet weather. Thursday the thermometer got up to 81 F/27,2 late afternoon. By 10am Friday, Firestone Tires recorded the time as 76F/24C, with the track already 90F/32C.

Thursday JIM MICHAELIAN, President/CEO of the Grand Prix of Long Beach Association, predicted a crowd of 170,000 for the weekend. The box office ticket vendor with whom I spoke at 9am said it was still early to predict what kind of walk-up crowd there would be. She did say that there had been several ‘swarms’ of fans already.

#2 in Scrutineering

Charlie Kimball being TV interviewed

#77 in Schmidt Hamilton team paddock

Everywhere in the paddocks teams are getting ready for track time. Cars are going through Scrutineering, last minute details are being handled and fans with the appropriate credentials are taking it all in. TV and media crews abound, getting photos and interviews prior to cars going on course.

The usual entrace gate bag check was in force coming into the track – mandatory for anyone going through the turnstiles, including those with official credentials. But what was atypical was the complete lack of grumbling about the process. The Boston situation has been acknowledged in several different ways Thursday and Friday. What was stressed by Michaelian and othes was that the race will go on and that the American spirit is not to be cowed. “We’ll live.”