The Toyota-sponsored Grand Prix of Long Beach is no more. The race itself, however, will continue.

IndyCar: Toyota ends 44-year sponsorship of Long Beach Grand Prix

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One of the most popular races on the IndyCar schedule, which has also held the longest-running event entitlement sponsorship in all major professional sports, will no longer have its title sponsor.

Toyota Motor North America on Thursday announced that after a 44-year run, it will no longer sponsor the Grand Prix of Long Beach – or to many, simply the Long Beach Grand Prix.

Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, issued the following statement:

“We have had a phenomenal relationship with Toyota for 44 years, a record in the racing world. In recent discussions, however, Toyota has elected not to renew as the title sponsor. This has now opened up an opportunity to identify a new title partner. Coming off a very successful 44th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, we’re excited about the future and are exploring all possible sponsorship opportunities that might exist in the market.

“Toyota came aboard our fledgling event in 1975 as Official Pace Car provider and in 1980, Toyota stepped up to become our entitlement sponsor and remained in that position for 39 years. In 1976, Toyota created the charitable Toyota ‘Race for Youth’ Match Race which would become the world-famous Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race starting in 1977, continuing for the next 40 years.

“Among the many beneficiaries of this race were the Children’s Hospitals of Long Beach and Orange County. Together, over the years, we were able to build the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach into America’s #1 Street Race.

“On behalf of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, I would like to thank Toyota for all that it did to help us grow our event and make it what it is today. We are proud to have had Toyota be the most prominent of our sponsor partners for so many years.”

Even though Toyota will no longer be sponsor, Michaelian assured racing fans that the 2019 Grand Prix of Long Beach will go on as scheduled April 12-14.

Toyota reportedly had told both race promoters and city officials back in April, at the conclusion of its most recent three-year contract, that it would not return. This despite drawing an event record 185,000-plus for this year’s event.

The company’s Twitter account — @ToyotaGPLB — has already been changed to @GPLongBeach.

“Toyota has had an incredibly successful 44 year-run as the entitlement sponsor of the Grand Prix of Long Beach,” Toyota said in a statement. “We value the relationship we’ve built over those years, but feel it is in the best interest of Toyota to no longer be the entitlement sponsor.”

Thursday’s announcement was “not a huge surprise,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia told The Orange County Register.

“Once (Toyota) made the decision to move of their operations out of Southern California and over to Texas, I think a lot of us wondered if that relationship would continue,” Garcia told The Register. “So it’s unfortunate, but we’re very grateful to them.

“They were here for a very long time, and I’m confident the Grand Prix will find another great sponsor.”

IndyCar officials have not released a statement about Toyota’s departure.

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Dean Wilson out for rest of Supercross season

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“Such a massive gut punch on Saturday,” Dean Wilson wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye.”

With that post, Wilson announced that he will be out for the remainder of the Supercross season, which includes races at East Rutherford, N.J. and Las Vegas, Nev. An MRI earlier in the week revealed a shoulder injury. He also sustained damage to his kidney in a Lap 8 accident while he was running in the top 10.

Wilson’s injuries will not require surgery.

Wilson’s season began with a lot of promise. Earning the holeshot in the season-opening race at Anaheim, Wilson led for a time before narrowly missing the podium in fourth.

Two weeks later, Wilson finished fifth overall in the Triple Crown event of Anaheim II. Those are his only top-fives of the season.

“The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year,” Wilson continued.

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Such a massive gut punch on Saturday. Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye. Started off Denver topping free practice then went on to qualify P1 in qualifier 1. Qualifier 2 didn’t get the cleanest laps but ended with a 4th. On to the main event I was running around 7th on lap 7 moving forward and as I came around for the rhythm section I tripled in and something freak happened causing the bike to nose dive after I tripled in and pile driving me into the ground. The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year. It’s tough just hoping to have a ride each year. 2nd part is people saying “wilson’s hurt again, big surprise there” when it was something that wasn’t my fault. It’s a tough pill To swallow.. I injured my shoulder and got a contusion on my kidneys. Got MRI and good news is I dodged a bullet on my shoulder and I am just going to give it a few weeks of rest and therapy and see where we are at. Huge disappointment to end my SX season like this. Thanks to my whole team for everything and everybody checking in on me. I really appreciate it. I will be back.

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Next Race: East Rutherford April. 27, on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Gold

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