The Rubber Hits the Road at Grand Prix of Long Beach

Grease Girl at Long Beach Grand Prix
Truth be told, I haven’t been to an indycar race since I was a kid. At age 9 I was convinced I would be an indycar driver when I grew up. That profession was won over by being a doctor, then being a designer… and on and on the years passed.

IZOD Indycar Series Race at 2010 Grand Prix of Long Beach

But when I got an offer for some tickets to the Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend from Optima Batteries, I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather do on this beautiful Sunday. Ever since I by chance ended up driving these streets while they were blockading them off for the race, I’d wanted to check this event out. It’s not some boring circle track – this 1.98 mile track has hairpin and ninety-degree turns and is on the actual streets of Long Beach!

Indycar Passes Crowd at 2010 Grand Prix of Long Beach

This has been a whole 3-day event, but the culmination of it was with today’s IZOD Indycar Series race. All 170,000 spectators saw the 25 drivers speed away from the finish line (of these 25 drivers, I’m glad to say 3 were women!) I’d forgotten that there’s nothing quite like all those cars starting up their engines at once.

36th Annual Long Beach Grand Prix IZOD Indycar Series Race

As they blurred around the track for 85 laps, I knew I should cover my ears but I just didn’t want to! Other than the surprise of how fast a 200 mph car looks rounding a curve in the road, there weren’t many mishaps. On a track like this, passing one another is hugely difficult and I didn’t see any of that. The only crash was, I believe, a single car incident involving # 67, Dollar General’s racecar.

Dollar General #67 in Cockpits at 36th Annual Grand Prix of Long Beach

In the end there were 17 cars left in the running with only 33.165 seconds seperating them. Leading it with first place was Ryan Hunter-Reay in the IZOD car. Trailing behind by 5.603 seconds was #22, Justin Wilson. A little further back (-8.5 seconds) in third place was #12 Will Power (really?…his parents named him that!)

Winning IZOD Indy Car at 2010 Grand Prix of Long Beach #37 ryan hunter-reay

After the indycars finished, a short demonstration of the drift cars took to the track and OH-my-goodness! Watching drifting on TV is amazing and the little bits I’d seen live were also. But I’d never seen this many cars drift on a track at once! Having three cars drift around a ninety-degree turn with what seems like mere inches seperating them is simply amazing! (For a small experience of the feeling check out this great video featuring drifting by Justin Shreeve on

Drifting at 36th Grand Prix of Long Beach

So now that the day’s over, I just can’t decide. Do I want to be a indycar driver, a drifter, or stick to my guns and hope I’ll one day get to drive at Bonneville to set a new land speed record?!? Last November I got the opportunity to suit up on a road course and I never thought that would happen. So who knows what the future holds – but I bet its fast! Until then, you can be sure that next week I’ll be driving down to Long Beach so Stude’s tires can at least pass over the road where all that rubber was burned this weekend!

IZOD Indycar Series Race at Long Beach Grand Prix

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