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Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

©2010 Bob Foster
Follow the Mayor: Motorsports Walk of Fame & Grand Prix-View
Grand Prix View

 

Mayor Foster helped to induct drivers Paul Tracy and Adrian Fernandez into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame.

 

Paul Tracy notched his first open-wheel race victory in Long Beach in 1990 when he won the Firestone Indy Lights support race. Three years later, he won the 1993 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, then went on to take the checkered flag three more times, in 2000, 2003 and 2004, tying him with Mario Andretti for second in all-time Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach wins behind Al Unser Jr.’s six.  During his illustrious career, the talented Canadian scored 31 race victories and 25 pole positions in the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) Champ Car series and, in 1993, won seven races en route to the Champ Car series championship.

 

Paul Tracy (right) waits for Mayor Foster to present his Walk of Fame plaque.

Paul Tracy (right) waits for Mayor Foster to present his Walk of Fame plaque.

Adrian Fernandez, one of the most popular athletes ever to hail from Mexico, made his open-wheel debut in 1993 in Long Beach and, in 11 appearances, had a career best-finish second place (2003) at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Fernandez’ career resume includes 11 open-wheel race victories in both the Champ Car and IZOD IndyCar ranks, including three victories in 2004. He has continued that open-wheel racing success into the sports car racing ranks. In 2009, Fernandez teamed with Luis Diaz to win the LMP2 Class in the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series race at Long Beach, the duo going on to win seven more races and the ALMS LMP2-class championship.

 

Councilmember Suja Lowenthal served as mistress of ceremonies at the Walk of Fame event.

Mayor Foster presents Adrian Fernandez a plaque for the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame.

Mayor Foster presents Adrian Fernandez a plaque for the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame.

 

Later in the day, Mayor Foster kicked off the Grand Prix View. For the first time ever, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach opened up its track to the public on Thursday, April 18. The community walked, biked, roller skated and even pushed a stroller along the course where the world’s best Indy Car drivers scream over 180 mph.

Grand Prix View

Vice Mayor Garcia hopped on a bicycle to ride around the Gran Prix track.

 

 

 

Grand Prix View

 

Grand Prix View

 

Grand Prix View

©2010 Bob Foster
Mayor Foster’s statement on the upcoming Grand Prix weekend in light of events in Boston
Credit Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau

We are 3,000 miles away from Boston but like every corner of this country, Monday was a day that we hoped we would never see.

 

It’s difficult to express the profound sadness we all feel for the families and friends affected by this horrible event.

 

There are a several members of the Long Beach City staff that hail from Boston or her suburbs and I know there is a great sense of heartbreak over such senseless violence on a day the is so quintessentially Boston. But I also know that Mayor Menino and the greater Boston community will move forward from this horrific event together and please know that the thoughts and prayers of the City of Long Beach are with you all.

 

Here in Long Beach, we are coming into Grand Prix weekend. The Long Beach Grand Prix showcases this great city every year as we welcome the world’s top Indy Car drivers.

 

Long Beach is used to hosting large events — I believe we are now in our 39th year of the Grand Prix — and we will again have a strong, multi-faceted security plan in place to deliver the best experience to our visitors.

 

We continue to monitor developments in the ongoing Boston investigation and are in contact with state and federal law enforcement partners. There are neither specific nor credible threats to this week’s activities – I want that to be very clear.

 

As you make your way down for the race week events, know that the City of Long Beach and the Grand Prix Association will take all appropriate measures to protect the public’s security — some of these measure will be visible, some will not.

 

The City will welcome 175,000 people for this week’s events. We look forward to another year of great races and we only ask three things of you when you come down:

  • Be courteous and patient with your fellow race fans, personnel and our public safety officials.
  • If you do see anything that concerns you, and we talk about this all the time with our residents here, don’t think twice-just call 911.
  • And finally, we want you to enjoy your time with family and friends at the outstanding events we have lined up for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

 

Now, I’d like to turn this over to Police Chief Jim McDonnell for further remarks.

 

# # #

©2010 Bob Foster
Follow the Mayor: Grand Prix kick-offs construction and Michael’s Pizzeria Grand Opening
Grand Prix

Tuesday was a day of grand openings and kick-offs.

 

Mayor Foster joined Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian for the kick-off of the first full day of constructing 1.97 miles of track through the streets of Downtown Long Beach.  The 39th Annual Toyota Grand Prix will run April 19 – April 21.

(Left to right) Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association; Mayor Foster; Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT series; and Stephan Papadakis, owner of Papadakis Racing.

(Left to right) Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association; Mayor Foster; Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT series; and Stephan Papadakis, owner of Papadakis Racing.

Mayor Foster also joined the grand opening of Michael’s Pizzeria on the Promenade.  After the ribbon-cutting, Michael’s Pizzeria in Downtown Long Beach was officially open for business.

 

Mayor Foster joins Michael Dene, owner of Michael's Pizzeria, in front of Long Beach's newest restaurant.

Mayor Foster joins Michael Dene, owner of Michael’s Pizzeria, in front of Long Beach’s newest restaurant.

 

Michael's Pizzeria

©2010 Bob Foster
Follow the Mayor: Grand Prix Photos

 

 

Mayor Foster joined Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal and Jim Michaelian of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach at the Grand Prix Motorsport Walk of Fame ceremony. Mayor Foster presents a plaque to 2012 Motorsport Walk of Fame honoree Scott Pruett.

 

Mayor Foster introduces Rick Galles. The Galles Racing Team also joined the Motorsport Walk of Fame.

 

Mayor Foster visited Downtown Long Beach Associates' Grand Prix kick-off celebration.

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