Editor’s note: If you are looking for racing content here, move on. This is my love letter to Long Beach and the Grand Prix.
I was so impressed with Long Beach the first time I attended in 2015 that I could not wait to come back. It took seven years to make it back. I had concerns. Would it feel the same? Would things that I thought were great about the event not seem so good this time? Sometimes the return trip to a track can be a disappointment based on what one remembers from the first trip. Iowa and Kentucky come to mind.
I am happy to say that not only was Long Beach pretty much just as I remembered, in some ways it seemed better. Unlike downtown St. Pete, the landscape seemed to be nearly the same. Perhaps the city is already built out as much as it can be.
Like Indianapolis, Long Beach has made the grand prix a part of its fabric. I talked to several residents who have no interest in racing, but most have attended at least one grand prix. They all are happy to have the event. Restaurants offer discounts to race team members. The buses have a welcome message in their digital route scrolls.
If I could afford to make the Long Beach Grand Prix annually, I would. I feel so comfortable in the somewhat laid -back atmosphere here. Some of the people I met this trip were fascinating.
I met a man named John twice. He carries a long walking stick and walks around the city every day. He said he walks at least three miles a day. John doesn’t attend the race, but he doesn’t mind that it’s there.
A gentleman I spoke with after qualifying told me that he has been to all 47 iterations of the Long Beach Grand Prix. He hopes to get to barber Motorsports Park one day to see the museum there. I shared with him my experiences there.
When the time comes that physical and financial restrictions limit me to going to two races a year, Long Beach will be the one I will choose in addition to the 500. Same event, different city.
Some photos, not necessarily race related of views from the track. Thanks for indulging me.