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Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach!

So this weekend I had the chance to go to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which though I reside close by, I have never been to the race, or anything that is like this ever before in my life. I was really looking forward to it, though I had no idea what to expect once I got there. Last year I remember running down by the area where it was held and hoping to go one day. This year was my lucky year. I scored Grand Stand tickets and tickets to the Paddock where they keep the cars before the race. You can walk around and see the pit crews and drivers and I did catch a glimpse of Danica Patrick riding a scooter!

We rode down to the Race on the city bus with a bunch of other race fans and walked right into where our tickets allowed us. My brother has this new saying that whenever you are drinking beer, and doing something it becomes ‘American.’ Say, when he did the yard work the other morning at 9 am and decided to drink beer, it made it okay since it was American. The mind of a 21 year old boy. So this whole event was pretty hardcore American in my brothers vocabulary. We all had cocktails and beers in our hands by noon.

This is Danica Patrick’s Car and her little area with the GoDaddy Tent. There were hands down the most people at her tent and it was the most exciting place to be and she wasn’t even there! We waited for about 10 minutes for her to come out but she didn’t. At least I got to see her on the scooter! That was a highlight. She is so tiny in real life.

Here is another side of her trailer. The trailers are so big insides, it’s crazy! Everyone was getting ready and getting the cars ready to go to the track since we were there only like 30 minutes before race time. The cars, once they were ready, then got put on these leash things and pulled out to the track!

Here is a video of the GoDaddy car going out to the track on it’s leash. Still sadly, no sign of Danica!

Even better than a kid on a leash, a car on a leash! It was crazy how small the cars were and how much bigger they look on the track when they are racing by you. I couldn’t believe their true life size, they are tiny. They just pulled all the cars through the crowd and beeped and honked their way through.

That is not the driver in the car but just a guy from the pit crew. They were pulling this car out for the race so that it would be on the track! It is crazy how loud they are and how much it smells! Yucky.

These are the Indy Lights Cars, their engines are smaller and the cars are overall smaller too. It was the first event on the track yesterday and it was pretty cool to watch them go out first. After the race the cars that crashed just get towed around through the air! This is a picture of one that was flying around through the crowd. I have never seen anything like it.

Shea and I and another friend of ours from high school that we randomly ran into outside the car paddock. It was such a nice day out and we remembered to wear sunscreen on our shoulders to not get burnt. Please notice the giant hamburger in the background.

We wandered over to the Danica Merchandise trailer where there were so many things with MY weird name on it! :) I had to get a little something, come on, I can’t ever even find my name on anything else! Shea and I both got lanyards with the Danica and her number, 7, on them to be more official and we put our tickets in them.

Then into the expo we traveled. When the Grand Prix comes to town it takes over all of town. The sheer madness and how much effort and work goes into it amazes me, especially since it’s the streets I drive on to get to work all the time. I love the downtown area and seeing it in this mode was so exciting. It made me love Long Beach even more! I am a proud resident!

We went into the Expo as well to check everything out where it was pretty much filled with Boy loving stuff. Car wax, cars, girls in spandex and lots of Cholula. We got free bottles, but hello, please tell me you don’t laugh at their motto? That was pretty amazing in itself. There were lots of fun things to look at in the Expo so that was fun as well. The last time I was in that expo area was for the Long Beach Marathon Expo, which is quite a change to a Car Racing Expo!

We were back out walking to the track to watch the race. Another car that got in a crash during the Indy Car Lights Race. Also, please notice the side of the car and their sponsors. Crepes and Waffles? Is that a racing term or is that just amazing? I need to be sponsored by Crepes and Waffles!

After walking around we realized the cars were on the track and ready to go! We got settled into our Grand Stand seats and it was awesome! I have never been to anything like this before and just seeing the cars going around and around so fast was pretty exciting. We sat down when they were around lap 10 of 85 and we stayed there the entire time. I was NEVER bored and loved every second! It was so fun to see the cars racing on the streets I run on all the time! I never expected it to be this fun.

It was crazy how fast they took the turns and watching it on the big screen showed us a lot of other parts of the course and where other drivers were. Even though I know nothing about car racing, it was easy to follow and I knew what was going on at all time. It was so loud though! Here is a video after a yellow flag which means someone crashed so all the cars caught up and got lined up behind the pace car again. It was crazy how loud it was!

We had really good seats to see what was going on and they couldn’t race by us too fast since there was a lot of turns where we were sitting. There were so many people in the buildings watching too from all floors!

Not going to lie, all the checkered flags were super cute! I love things checkered, when I was in high school had a room with red walls and a checkered border. It was crazy people watching as all walks of life were out at the race track. It was also crazy to think about going that fast and controlling the car. I couldn’t even imagine!

Sporting the LB Transit checkered flags we got from the expo! We also got little bus banks from the LB Transit as well, which are radical. It was fun because it’s how we got to the race!

Little day drinking. It was so much fun, though drinking there is expensive, not going to lie. I tried to be prepared for it but dannnng 12 dollars for a margarita, on the bright side it was at least 20 ounces. The race is sponsored by Tecate so that was basically all you could get beer wise. I opted for a 12 dollar Margarita that was delicious!

Thus leading to the weirdest picture/event of the day.

Then there was a Swiss Army booth that had you take a picture against a green screen. The guy was looking for people to take pictures of and most people just passed him by but Shea and I thought, we’ll we only live once, we might as well. Shea’s motto is, “If it’s free take two,” so we got sucked in by the free picture and I’m so stoked we did! We opted for to go big and put on these huge jackets. Little did we know the picture would turn out AWESOME!

I am still laughing about this one. It seriously cracks me up.

So all in all, I had a fantastic time at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach! It was so much fun and I would totally do it again! I can’t believe how easy everything was to find and how much fun I had! It was something I never thought I would like to do but man, great times in the LBC. Can’t wait to throw another great event in October, ya know, the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon, but then it won’t be cars racing through the streets, but people!


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