STREETS OF LONG BEACH, CA
April 13, 2014 on NBC Sports Network
Andretti named Grand Marshal for Sunday's IndyCar Race
BEACH, Calif. -- Mario Andretti, one of the most
recognizable names in the history of motorsport, will
serve as Grand Marshal for the 40th Toyota Grand Prix
of Long Beach on Sunday, April 13, saying the most famous
words in auto racing – “Drivers, start your
engines!” – just prior to the start of the
featured IndyCar Series race.
by many to be the greatest race driver in the history
of the sport, Andretti’s list of accomplishments
on the track are numerous. He won the Indianapolis 500,
the Daytona 500, the Formula One World Championship and
the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. He won the IndyCar National
Championship four times and was a three-time winner at
Sebring. He won races in sports cars, sprint cars and
stock cars - on ovals, road courses, drag strips, on dirt
and on pavement. He was victorious at virtually every
level of motorsports since he arrived in America from
his native Italy at age 15.
is totally appropriate to have Mario as Grand Marshal
for our 40th race,” said Jim Michaelian, president
and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “Over
the years, he has been an important part of our history
and heritage, and we’re happy to honor his contributions
to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in this way.”
raced for four decades on just about every course imaginable,”
said Andretti. “And I have been associated with
the Grand Prix of Long Beach since its beginning in 1975.
So I think I speak with authority when I say that it is
by far the most successful street race ever staged in
American motor racing history. Obviously, the fondest
memories I have of the streets of Long Beach are my victories,
but the entertainment and ambiance away from the track
has also become classic. No one leaves Long Beach without
vowing to come back. It is truly amongst the best I’ve
ever seen and I’m proud to be serving as Grand Marshal
Andretti’s 111 race victories over five decades
are four wins at Long Beach. Two of them -- in 1977 and
l984 -- were critical to the event becoming America's
#1 Street Race.
1977 race was Long Beach's second featuring F1 cars. At
that time, American TV networks rarely televised F1 races.
ESPN was yet to be born. Financial questions loomed large.
And the bigger question was: would Southern California
race fans support an F1 race?
sped to victory, becoming the first American to win an
F1 race on U.S. soil. His win made the race and the City
of Long Beach front-page news across the nation.
years later, the Grand Prix switched from F1 cars to the
Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) series. And the
question again was: Would Indy cars play in Long Beach?
again came to the rescue, winning in convincing fashion
in front of more than 55,000 roaring fans, and the future
of the race was even more secure.
Afterwards, addressing the media, Andretti said, "I
love it here."
1977, race fans in Long Beach, Southern California and
across the U.S. have felt the same way about him.
addition to the IndyCar Series race, which will start
at approximately 1:45 p.m. PT, the 40th Toyota Grand Prix
of Long Beach will feature the Tequila Patrón Sports
Car Showcase with the cars of the TUDOR United SportsCar
Championship, Pro/Celebrity Race, Indy Lights Presented
by Cooper Tires, Pirelli World Challenge, Robby Gordon’s
SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road Series and Motegi Racing
Super Drift Challenge.
can select and pay for their 2014 Toyota Grand Prix of
Long Beach seats, parking and paddock passes online at
Ticket orders can also be placed by calling the toll-free
ticket hotline, (888) 82-SPEED. Also featured on gplb.com
is the latest Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach news, downloadable
ticket brochure and racetrack information, photos and
ongoing announcements of special race week activities.
prices range from $28 for a Friday General Admission ticket
to $135 for a three-day ticket that includes Sat./Sun.
reserved seating in grandstand upper levels. Pre-paid
parking packages are also available, along with handicapped
seating, IndyCar Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and
a wide variety of Hospitality Club packages.
can follow the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook
(#TGPLB40) and Instagram at ToyotaGPLB.
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
credit: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
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