CHAMPCAR/CART: Sitting in the stands at Long Beach

CHAMPCAR/CART: Sitting in the stands at Long Beach

Watching a race on television does not compare to actually being there. There is nothing like the smell of methanol at 9 am, and the roar of a turbocharged Champ Car echoing in between the buildings of Long Beach. Sitting in the grandstands is ...

Watching a race on television does not compare to actually being there. There is nothing like the smell of methanol at 9 am, and the roar of a turbocharged Champ Car echoing in between the buildings of Long Beach. Sitting in the grandstands is something that you will remember for a long time. The people that you get to meet there. These are fans of watching Champ Cars zoom by your little section of track probably no more then 50 or 60 feet in length.

Start: Paul Tracy takes the lead from Bruno Junqueira.
Photo by Todd Corzett.
The people that you meet there are devoted fans of the race. They don't care about all of the politics that are involved with it, all they care about is seeing a bunch of race cars racing on the streets of Long Beach on a picture perfect day for racing. I was fortunate enough to sit at the hairpin at turn 11 about four rows up from the bottom. That's close enough to feel the heat off the engines as they put their foot to the floor and smell burning methanol and tire rubber. I was fortunate enough to have a JumboTron to watch so that I could see what was going on on the rest of the track before the cars came towards the hairpin.

Unfortunately, I heard a lot of people complaining about the race because it was boring. The way Paul Tracy won this race reminds me of the way Michael Schumacher wins. During the last 15 laps Junquiera started to catch up to Tracy little by little.

It seemed to me that Tracy was in control of the race. If you've ever seen Formule One, you will know that Schumacher does this as well. With about two or three laps to go, the lead was down to just a couple seconds from the 8 or 9 seconds it was a few laps before, then it seemed like Tracy finally used his "push to pass" button and used up his boost during the last couple laps.

Being that this was my first time at Long Beach, it made me think of how similar it is to Monaco. I mean they are both raced next to the water, the atmosphere there is huge, and you even have big named celebrities there. Long Beach is the American version of the Monaco Grand Prix.

If you ever get the chance to go, please go for me. It's an experience like none other. You're in awe of what is going on around you. Even before you actually reach the track, the atmosphere starts to hit you and you're standing there thinking, wow, I'm actually here at Long Beach. This is incredible.

By: Mike Stevens, Guest Writer

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Mike Stevens