CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach prepares for April racing

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach construction begins! From Streets to Racetrack in Just Nine Weeks; 30th Anniversary Race Set For April 16-18 LONG BEACH, Calif. (Feb. 16, 2004) -- In the beginning, 29 years ago, cars racing in the Toyota Grand...

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach construction begins!
From Streets to Racetrack in Just Nine Weeks; 30th Anniversary Race Set For April 16-18

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Feb. 16, 2004) -- In the beginning, 29 years ago, cars racing in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach took the green flag on Ocean Ave., in front of seedy adult movie houses and boarded-up storefronts, leaped down Linden Ave. to Shoreline Dr., then roared back up Pine Ave. to Ocean.

This year, the most famous street circuit in American racing - measuring 1.97 miles and 11 turns - will wind around a bustling Convention Center, past the Aquarium of the Pacific and the gleaming new Pike at Rainbow Harbor, then under the windows of soaring new apartments and high-rise hotels.

Construction on the Grand Prix race circuit began Monday morning, with the first concrete blocks being put down at Linden and Shoreline. Over the next two months, Grand Prix workers will install 14 million tons of concrete blocks, three miles of fencing, 16,000 of bolted-together tires . not to mention the building of 19 huge spectator grandstands, seven pedestrian bridges and eight giant vision boards for full-circuit TV coverage. Once completed, the facility will be able to comfortably accommodate more than 200,000 people.

Despite all the new construction downtown, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach circuit will remain unchanged for the fifth consecutive year. Overseeing the construction for the 24th straight time is Dwight Tanaka, director of operations for the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach (GPALB).

Tanaka and his staff of more than 40 have already put in the first of more than 30,000 working hours to get all the creature comforts (including porta- johns, hospitality suites and tents and trash containers) in place for the April 16-18 weekend. They'll be at it right up through race weekend.

"Then," Tanaka said, "the minute the race is over we start taking it apart, inspecting everything, making repairs and storing it again for 2005."

"Through all those years, we've managed to keep the circuit safe for the drivers and exciting for spectators," said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the GPALB. "For this, we owe a debt of gratitude to the many Long Beach city departments and private entities who have assisted us.

"Without their help, we would never have been able to make the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach the best street race in America."

Ticket prices for the three-day Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach range from $40 for a Sunday-only general admission ticket to $110 for a three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seating in upper levels of the grandstands. Pre-paid parking packages are available and can be purchased when ordering tickets through the Grand Prix ticket office.

Tickets for the 2004 event can be placed by calling the ticket hotline toll- free at (888) 82-SPEED or logging on to www.longbeachgp.com. Copies of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach ticket brochure can also be obtained by calling the ticket hotline. The ticket brochure includes a circuit map with grandstand and parking locations as well as ticket prices and a ticket order form.

Handicapped seating, Bosch Champ Car Garage passes, super photo tickets and hospitality club packages are also available.

For updated Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach ticket information, news or announcements of special race week activities, visit www.longbeachgp.com.

* * *

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is owned and operated by Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, Inc., a subsidiary of Dover Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE: DVD). Dover Motorsports, Inc. is a leading promoter of motorsports events in the United States. Its subsidiaries operate seven tracks (four permanent facilities and three temporary circuits) in six states and promote events under the auspices of the sport's four premier sanctioning bodies - NASCAR, Champ Car, IRL and NHRA. The company owns and operates Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del.; Nashville Superspeedway in Nashville, Tenn.; Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis, Mo.; and Memphis Motorsports Park in Memphis, Tenn. It also organizes and promotes the CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver, Colo.

-TGPLB-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Atlantic , IndyCar , Trans-Am , Vintage
Drivers Jim Michaelian