WHO'S HOT * Canadian Paul Tracy ( ...
* Canadian Paul Tracy (#3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Player's/Forsythe Racing won his second straight Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford race in Monterrey, Mexico at the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix last month. The Champ Car veteran took the lead on Lap 17 of the 85-lap event and never looked back en route to his 21st career Champ Car win. Tracy has jumped the field early on in the point standings heading into the 29th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, maintaining a 43 to 32 advantage over Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). With the victory in Mexico, Tracy became the first driver to win the first two races of the season since Rick Mears won at Phoenix and Atlanta in 1982- a year that Mears would go on to win the season championship.
* Team Rahal's Michel Jourdain Jr. matched his career-best finish of second in consecutive races in Round 2, making him the first Mexican driver to ever stand on the podium at a Monterrey race. Jourdain heads into the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach having completed all 190 laps turned in 2003, a feat matched by only Tracy and Brazilians Bruno Junqueira (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Newman/Haas Racing and Roberto Moreno (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Herdez Competition.
* Canadian Alex Tagliani (#33 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Rocketsports Racing turned in an impressive performance in Mexico for new team owner Paul Gentilozzi. With a third-place effort, the Champ Car vet managed to score a podium in only his second race with the Rocketsports Racing squad that was assembled just months prior to the season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida. Tag moved from 19th to fifth in points with 14 as a result of his recent success.
* Champ Car rookie Sebastien Bourdais (#2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has been one of the series' most notable prospects through two rounds, backing up that theory in Monterrey by annihilating Kenny Brack's 2001 track qualifying record by over three-tenths of a second. The Frenchman has two poles to his credit and showed both speed and overtaking ability in Monterrey before a wall-brush took him out of competition for the second consecutive race. Bourdais continues to gain valuable race experience behind the wheel and has led 46 laps already this season, but stands 14th in points with five.
* Rookie of the Year contender Darren Manning (#15 RAC Walker Racing Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) of Walker Racing survived two wheel-banging incidents to earn a best-ever Champ Car finish of seventh in Monterrey. The determined English shoe heads to the downtown streets of Long Beach in a four-way tie for 10th in points with six.
* Former Formula 1 competitor Alex Yoong (#11 Dale Coyne Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Malaysia earned a ninth-place finishing position in his first-ever Champ Car race in Monterrey, taking over for Mexican Roberto Gonzalez and scoring four championship points without the benefit of any prior Champ Car testing.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
* Paul Tracy has enjoyed success on more than one occasion on Long Beach's 1.968-mile temporary street circuit though the years. Tracy recorded the first of his 21 career Champ Car wins in Long Beach in 1993. He added another in 2000 and took the pole in the 1994 event.
* Jimmy Vasser (#12 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) of American Spirit Team Johansson won the 1996 event contested at Long Beach en route to the series' title that year. Last year, the American Champ Car veteran grabbed the pole and finished second. Vasser currently stands ninth in points with eight.
BY THE NUMBERS
* 12 - Times the Champ Car displaying #1 has won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in 28 years. Bruno Junqueira of Newman/Haas Racing will drive the #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone this year...12 - Number of consecutive TGPLB starts by Jimmy Vasser, Champ Car's active leader, when he starts in the 2003 race...7 - Times the TGPLB winner has won from the pole position in 28 years...122 - Number of laps led at Long Beach by Paul Tracy, leading all active Champ Car drivers...1 - Number of times the TGPLB has been won from the pole position since 1991...5 - Number of Champ Car drivers who have won the TGPLB and gone on to win the Champ Car season championship.
* Now in its 29th year, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach continues to stand tall as America's longest running and most recognizable street race. The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach has long been considered a crown jewel of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. The three-day event known as "Southern California Official Spring Brake" features the Champ Cars, CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, Trans-Am Series and the world-famous Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, and annually attracts a packed house of race fans and celebrities to its challenging 1.968-mile street circuit over three days.
* Gin Blossoms To Perform...Multi-platinum recording artists the Gin Blossoms will add their name to the growing list of popular rock bands that have performed at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach's Rock-N-Roar Concert Series when they take center stage after the races on Saturday, April 12. The concert will be held on the Fountain Music Stage, located in front of the Terrace Theater at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, at approximately 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and is free to all Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Saturday ticket holders. Last year, over 7,000 race-goers enjoyed the music of the Goo Goo Dolls, while in 2001 Third Eye Blind headlined Saturday's Rock-N-Roar Concert...The Gin Blossoms - currently featuring Robin Wilson on vocals, Jesse Valenzuela on guitar and vocals, Bill Leen on bass, Scott Johnson on guitars and Scott Kusmirek on drums - formed in 1987 in Arizona and have sold more than six million albums. Their single "Til I Hear it From You" hit number one in 1996 and the band received a Grammy nomination for "As Long As it Matters." Their 1992 quadruple platinum album New Miserable Experience spawned four Top 25 hits including "Hey Jealousy," "Mrs. Rita," "Allison Road" and "Found Out About You." Their other hit songs include "Follow You Down," "Day Job" and "As Long As It Matters." After taking a break in 1997 to work on solo projects, the band reunited in February 2002 for a tour and to celebrate the release of the 10th anniversary two-CD Deluxe Edition, New Miserable Experience (A&M/UME) and the DVD Collection...Their appearance at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is in the midst of a seven-month U.S. tour...Friday's Rock-N-Roar Concert, which will also start at approximately 5:00 p.m., will feature local favorites the Mama's Boys. That concert is free to all Friday ticket holders.
* Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race...Stars from film, television, music and sports are set to face off in the world's longest-running, most successful celebrity auto racing event. Toyota Motorsports recently announced its exciting lineup for the 27th Annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race on Saturday, April 12, in Long Beach. The 10-lap charity race, held on the 1.968-mile downtown Long Beach street circuit and broadcast to a national TV audience, is annually a part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend. The expected field of 15 features an eclectic group of entertainment personalities, internationally renowned celebrities, and figures from sports and media. Stars driving in the race include the following: Angie Everhart (Actress and model), Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11 astronaut and second man to walk on the moon), Picabo Street (Olympic Alpine Skiing Champion), Adam Carolla (Co-creator and co-host of Comedy Central's "The Man Show" and "Crank Yankers," host of nationally syndicated radio show "Loveline"), Jesse James (Host of Discovery Channel's "Monster Garage"), Tommy Shane Steiner (American Music Awards nominee for "Favorite New Artist Country Music"), Peter Reckell ('Bo Brady'' on NBC's daytime soap "Days of Our Lives"), Steve Hartman (KCBS-TV and XTRA Sports 690 Broadcaster), and Tony Potts ("Access Hollywood" Correspondent). Returning this year is the 2000 Toyota Pro/Celebrity race champion, Josh Brolin (Senator 'Bill Sterling' on NBC's "Mr. Sterling"). As a former participant, Brolin will compete with three other drivers in the "pro" category this year. In addition to Brolin, the professional drivers competing for the checkered flag are Jeremy McGrath (Seven-time AMA Supercross Champion), Leilani Munter (NASCAR Touring Series driver), and Milka Duno (American Le Mans Series driver). Also racing in this year's event are Bud Gordon, owner of Quality Toyota in Corona, Calif., and CEO of Gordon Automotive; and Dave Pasant, who earned a spot by making the high bid for the 2003 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race seat at last year's Toyota Grand Prix Charity Ball auction...As part of the race event, Toyota will help raise more than $100,000 this year for "Racing for Kids," a non-profit program benefiting Southern California children's hospitals in Long Beach and Orange County. Toyota will donate $5,000 in the name of each participant, and another $5,000 to the race winner's charity of choice. Finally, a $10,000 donation will also be made in conjunction with the sixth annual "PEOPLE Pole Award." Sponsored by PEOPLE magazine, the award honors the pole-position winner of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race qualifying session on Friday, April 11. Throughout the past 12 years, the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race has generated more than $1 million for charity.
* Historic Formula One Cars ...will scream through the streets of Long Beach once again when Historic Grand Prix gives the 29th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach a blast from its past. It's been 20 years since Formula One ran at Long Beach; since 1984, the cars and stars of Champ Car have been the featured attraction. Historic Grand Prix features many of the actual Formula One cars that ran in Long Beach from 1976-83, including Mario Andretti's World Championship winning 1978 #5 John Player Lotus 79 entry, Gilles Villeneuve's #2 Ferrari 312T5 from 1980, Keke Rosberg's #1 Williams FW08C from 1983, Niki Lauda's #11 Ferrari 312T2 from 1977 and Tom Pryce's #16 Shadow DN5 from 1976. Entering its third year of competition in 2003, Historic Grand Prix now has more than 65 owner-drivers of authentic Formula One cars from the FIA three-liter formula that ran from 1966 to 1983. The organization prides itself on the authentically correct presentation of the cars, close racing and above all sharing the romance and history of the era with the spectators. Historic Grand Prix has raced at many famous racetracks, including Laguna Seca, Road America, Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Watkins Glen and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the USGP. Every historic Formula One car will be on display for Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach patrons in the Automobile Club of Southern California Lifestyle Expo located inside the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center. Each car will have its own color storyboard containing information about the car, including original driver, races won and photos of the car in action. There will also be a photo display in the Expo featuring images of Formula One cars competing at Long Beach in the event's early years.
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Long Beach, California
CHAMP CAR SCHEDULE (All times local):
FRIDAY, APRIL 11
Champ Car practice, 9:30 - 10:20 a.m.
Champ Car practice, 11:10 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 2:30 - 3:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, APRIL 12
Champ Car practice, 10:00 - 11:15 a.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 1:45 - 2:45 p.m.
SUNDAY, APRIL 13
Champ Car warmup, 9:00 - 9:30 a.m.
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, 1:00 p.m.
U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE:
SATURDAY, APRIL 12
SPEED Channel, Champ Car Qualifying, 4:30 p.m. (Live)
SUNDAY, APRIL 13
SPEED Channel, Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, 4:00 p.m. ET (Live).