LONG BEACH (News4usonline) – The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach was nixed in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s been well over two years since the race last took place. Jim Michaelian, who operates as president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, is extremely happy to see the race back after a long hiatus.
“Absolutely love it,” Michaelian said during media day at the track, a week ahead of the race. “It’s been a long time. It’s been two and a half years since we ran the race here in 2019. That’s a long time for me. Gone from the scene. We’re delighted to be able to bring this whole entertainment package back to Long Beach on the 24th through the 26th.”
Give or take a little, Michaelian said although Los Angeles County, as well as the rest of the nation, continues to navigate its way through the pandemic, he is expecting the three-day crowd to be somewhat on par with what it was like pre-Covid 19.
“We’re expecting something comparable,” Michaelian said. “It might be a little bit less, just because of the various aspects of the pandemic. But we’ll have a good crowd here. We want it to be an exciting weekend for everybody that comes.”
The caveat is all guests and visitors, including staff and race-related workers, must be vaccinated or show proof of a negative test result, That’s imperative for a safe and fun weekend, Michaelian added.
“We also want it to be safe,” Michaelian said. “Because of the mandates that have come down from the state and the city, people are going to be wearing masks and they’re going to be required to show proof of vaccination or a very current negative Covid[ 19] test. By doing that, we can pretty much assure all the attendees here that this race is one of the safest venues in the state of California.”
The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will kick off Friday, Sept. 24 and will run through Sunday, Sept. 26. Race organizers are not the only people excited to see the race come back. The hundreds of volunteers that annually help make the race go smoothly, off and on the track, are just as eager
Nury Curtis, a member of the Committee of 300, expressed her happiness with this year’s return of the race event.
“I am very excited, we are the last race on the circuit, so a lot of fun things will be happening for the end of the race,” said Curtis. “Having the race event canceled last year even saddened Curtis, for she herself is a race fan. “I am really a race fan, so last year I put up all of my little race decorations, to make it seem like it was race weekend for me.”
Curtis and the rest of the ambassadors are in charge of manning the grandstands, answering questions from fans, and help with directions to get to locations. Ambassadors and drivers all have renewed energy and excitement this year for the race, despite the event taking place later in the year than normal. The hope for a full house and positive turnout is expected.
Ed Klotz has been a race volunteer for more than four decades. Also a member of the Committee of 300, Klotz said being part of this year’s race means a lot to a lot of people.
“We really miss doing it last year in April,” Klotz said.