Grand Prix a Grand Event

Eric Bailey

The thunderous roars of exotic race cars echoing off the Shoreline Village shop facades have since faded, replaced with the bustling shoppers and foot traffic the downtown destination is accustomed to. Though the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach came and went, racegoers were abuzz out the event’s positioning as a beacon to a sense of normally returning to the city.

The 47th annual IndyCar series event took to the streets April 8-10 and transformed the Shoreline Village community into high-octane heaven as the race returned to its usual timeframe, after being canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions and a delayed 2021 race due to tailored restrictions by the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services affecting mega events. But many people were excited that things are on the home stretch to normalcy.

As people were wowed with hairpin turns, jubilant bursts of speed and thrilling finishes over the checkered line, just as much fun was packed in the booths featured in the Lifestyle Expo.

“We come all the time except for last year because of this ridiculous COVID stuff,” said Paul Ingerson of the South Bay.

The expo and family fun center offered plenty of things for everyone to do and plenty of souvenirs to take home.

“My highlight of the day is we got a bunch of toy cars and saw all the showcase cars,” said 10-year-old Ulysses.

The young kids weren’t the only ones impressed with the variety of tricked-out vehicles and stunts.

The fan-favorite drift challenge featured Saturday night brought an exciting element of flare and showmanship to the conventional race events.

Forrest Wang, owner of the Las Vegas-based Get Nuts Laboratory, a company focused on formula drifting merchandise took the top honors winning the drifting challenge.

“I like the stadium trucks and the drift cars,” said Adam Garner of Cypress, Calif. “The Prix is always a good time.”

Garner walked away with a lanyard he earned at a Marines information kiosk for performing pullups at the booth.

“I’m gonna wear this thing with pride,” he said jokingly. 

IndyCar stars Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Scott McLaughlin were on hand Saturday afternoon fielding fan questions and interacting with the crowd.

“I really come to like Bed, Bath & Beyond as a guilty shopping pleasure,” said McLaughlin, a native of New Zealand that has made a home for himself and his family in North Carolina.

Newgarden, a native of Nashville, Tenn. stormed into first place April 10 to give him his twenty-second win for his IndyCar career.

Engines revving and tires screeching weren’t the only sounds filling the air of downtown Long Beach over race weekend.

The Royal Machines, the Los Angeles based band known as one of the most acclaimed cover bands rocked out to a packed courtyard in front of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.

Many people loved to be out and experiencing live music again.

“I’m just ecstatic to see everyone out having a good time together,” said David Carver of Long Beach.

A ticket wasn’t needed to take in all the good vibes. An up-and-coming band took to the streets and put on a sidewalk show for onlookers and passersby near the race entrance on Ocean Boulevard.

The Rowdy Rebels, a band founded locally in Long Beach two years ago consisting of guitarist and vocalist Paolo V., bassist Zach Z. and drummer Emilio kept the crowd just outside the race gates rocking to the sounds of live rockabilly

“We’re used to stage sets but this is a different thing, it’s really cool,” said V. “I like just seeing random people’s reaction to our music.”

The Rebels have an upcoming show May 6 at DiPiazza’s at 5205 Pacific Coast Highway.

With a short turnaround between 2021’s postponement and aligning 2022’s race to its usual setting to kick off the spring season, the Acura Grand Prix is set to return April 14-16, 2023.



I’ve always loved the LB Grand Prix. My husband always had VIP tix because his company, Queen Beach Printers printed all their materials. I also like the fact that it’s always around my birthday and who wouldn’t love being by the ocean and taking in the views of The Queen Mary while you’re there?

Also, I love the fact that in this article, the journalist was able to capture the artists/musicians that pour their heart in doing what they love. As the mother of Paulo, leader of the band, The Rowdy Rebels, I truly appreciate that they were recognized and were added in this article. Thanks to Mr. Eric Bailey for a great article!

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