Acura Grand Prix a Weekend of Fun

By: 
Isaac Foster
Series winner Alex Palou

The 46th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach wrapped up after a loud and exciting weekend of racing. The three days were filled with a diverse set of races. Super Trucks used on-course ramps to catch major air and the flashy Super Drift races left Shoreline Drive covered in smoke. On Sunday the centerpiece of the whole weekend took place: the NTT INDYCAR series.

The race winner was Colton Herta, who led a race-high 43 laps for his third victory of the season driving the Andretti Autosport w/Curb-Agajanian Honda. But the bigger winner was Alex Palou, who captured the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season championship, finishing 4th behind Herta in the race. In his second year driving a Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing, Palou won three races this season. He is from Barcelona, Spain, making him the first-ever Spanish INDYCAR champion.

Josef Newgarden, driving the Team Penske Chevrolet, entered the race with a chance at the title, led 18 laps early in the race, but ultimately finished second to Herta in the race and runner-up to Palou in the championship.

The race was relatively clean despite the racing world’s predictions. There was only one safety car period that occurred when Kevin Magnussen struck the tire barrier during the IMSA Sportscar Championship and spread debris on the track. The caution period only lasted four laps which is rather smooth compared to the 2017 race which had five full-course cautions that required the drivers to do 24 laps behind the safety car.

Over the years, the Grand Prix has introduced new events to attract a larger and more diverse crowd. This strategy was deemed successful, with 180,000 attendees showing up over the course of the three days.

There was an abundance of stuff to explore outside of the track. Bill Patterson impressed racegoers with his live painting by producing a full-scale painting in under an hour and a half. Exotic birds squawked at people passing by saying phrases like “I love you!” and “Hello!”.

For children, there were simulated virtual racing games and a bounce house wonderland located in the Long Beach Arena.

Vince Neil of Motley Crue played a show on Saturday night, bringing hair-metal classics like “Kickstart My Heart” and “Girls, Girls, Girls” to Long Beach.

Over the course of the weekend, there was stuff for everyone in the family to enjoy at the Grand Prix. The festive autosport event will return next April 8-10 for the 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

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