CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach notes 96-04-10

1996 PPG INDY CAR WORLD SERIES Race No. 4 TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH Long Beach, California, April 12-14, 1996 QUICK NOTES FOR WEDNESDAY 4/10/96 by Robert Heathcote Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times newspaper featured two ...

1996 PPG INDY CAR WORLD SERIES Race No. 4 TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH Long Beach, California, April 12-14, 1996

QUICK NOTES FOR WEDNESDAY 4/10/96 by Robert Heathcote

Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times newspaper featured two "Advertising Supplements" for the 1996 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. About half of the 28 pages were advertisements but there was still plenty of good IndyCar and LBGP information to be had, plus pictures and short bio's for all IndyCar drivers. Complete preview coverage of the supporting events rounded out the special edition.

The LA Times is a co-sponsor of the Grand Prix of Long Beach and once again, is title-sponsor for "The Los Angeles Times Lifestyle/Auto Expo," a mini car and accessory exposition in the Long Beach Convention Center. The opening is Thursday night from 5:00pm to 8:00pm, when admission will be free. This kickoff party will play host to the racers party band, "Mach V," featuring Jeff Krosnoff, drums; David Kudrave, guitar; and Robbie Groff, bass guitar. Mach V is scheduled to play at 6:15pm Thursday night.

The other paper I've been reading daily is the one everyone attending the event *must* read: The Long Beach Press Telegram. Today there was a good story on IndyCar driver Jeff Krosnoff by staff writer Allen Wolfe. Krosnoff relates that if his career had ended last year in Japan, he would have been satisfied because he believes the Japanese series is one of the toughest in the world and he managed to succeed and earn good money as a driver. And he was confident that if he could get a test with an IndyCar team he "could take on anybody." He sums it up by saying with a smile, "Well, here I am."

The Press Telegram also runs basic LBGP information everyday, including ticket info, track map, time schedules, wheelchair access, public transportation info, and the all important 'Container' rule: "No bottles, cans or alcoholic beverages will be permitted through the admission gates. Coolers are subject to inspection." Of course, you can find beer, wine, and mixed drinks (in a variety of containers) for sale inside the gates.

A press release from PacWest Racing Group says the LBGP will be Mauricio Gugelmin's 40th Indy car start, and it will be only the first race in the United States that his father, Alceu Gugelmin Sr., has attended. Replacement driver Teo Fabi will drive the #21 car, which the PR says now "will feature the scheme presently on Gugelmin's car although (Teo's car) will accordingly carry VISA signage in the appropriate areas." PacWest is proud to announce Long Beach marks a one-year anniversary with VISA and Auto Club of Southern California. Something else "new" but old is the engineer working with Teo: Brian Herd, who engineered for Jerry Forsythe last year with Fabi, is chief mechanic for the #21 machine.

When Dan Gurney and his All American Racers team place take the green flag on Sunday it will be the first time for an Eagle chassis at Long beach since April 13, 1996, when Jan Lammers was in the drivers seat. Gurney, BTW, is a co-founder of the Grand Prix of Long Beach and has served on the board of directors since its inception in 1974. Current Toyota Eagle driver, Juan Manual Fangio II, 1987 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Celebrity/Pro Race victor, and native of Balcarce, Buenos Aires, Argentina, traveled home last week to the Grand Prix of Argentina for a special dedication to his uncle, the late five-times worlds champion Juan Fangio: Uncle Juan had a straightaway named after him. Whoever thought to name a straight after Fangio must be the same guy who went around naming chicanes after Ayrton Senna.

While on the subject of tracks, we can expect an IndyCar race in Japan on the 1997 schedule. Kirk Russell of CART traveled to Japan after the Surfers Paradise race to get an overview and voice concerns on the under-construction "Twin-Ring Motegi" race track, (backed by Honda). Motegi engineers are said to be special guests of IndyCar this weekend at Long Beach; and they will be taking notes.

Raul Boesel and Brahma Sports Team have been busy this week getting ready for Long Beach with road course testing at Firebird, in Phoenix, Ariz. "The biggest problem," explained Boesel, "is that we haven't been able to do much road course testing. We ran for one day at Big Springs and one day at Homestead, but that was all because we were waiting for the new Ford/Coswroth XD engine." Boesel's key to success at Long Beach: "A big key will be tires. In Surfers Paradis, Firestone definitely held an advantage. However, the Goodyear engineers have been working hard and we will have a new tire this weekend."

On-location news and information returns tomorrow, the first of four days I spend at the circuit.

-Robert Heathcote

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jan Lammers , Raul Boesel , Dan Gurney , Ayrton Senna , Teo Fabi , Jeff Krosnoff