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Long Beach City Council approves Toyota GP through 2023

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On Tuesday night, the Long Beach City Council has unanimously approved the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach to run through 2023, solidifying the event’s future for a further five years beyond 2018.

Politics have always popped up sporadically about the event’s future but the race stewards, the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, were confirmed earlier this year to keep running the race and rebuff rumors Formula 1 might return.

The first Long Beach race ran in 1975 with Formula 5000, with F1 running from 1976 through 1983, and IndyCar in its various series iterations since 1984. The event is the longest running street race in North America.

This new agreement sustains a relationship between the City and the Grand Prix Association which has spanned the last 43 years.

“We’re looking forward with great enthusiasm to the continuation of this extraordinary partnership between the City of Long Beach and the Grand Prix Association,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “Together we will continue to deliver the first-class, fan-friendly race event that we can all be proud of.”

“I think this is a great opportunity for the City to have this amazing event that we all love and enjoy so much,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “It’s great for economic development and to bring visitors into the City. To Jim and the team, thank you for working with us to come up with a new contract that I think is good for everyone.”

Ka-boom! NHRA Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon blows up brand new car body

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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Former NHRA Funny Car champ Cruz Pedregon was a happy man coming into Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Morrison, Colorado (a suburb of Denver).

The reason Pedregon was feeling good was he had a brand new Toyota Camry body atop his Funny Car chassis. It was state of the art, it looked fast and it was prepared to run fast.

And everything really looked good as soon as Pedregon hit the gas in his qualifying run vs. Tim Wilkerson.

Well, for a few seconds, that is.

As the two drivers hurtled down the 1,000-foot drag strip, Pedregon’s brand new body was destroyed in a massive explosion.

Fortunately, Pedregon was uninjured.

Check out the big ka-boom: