Brian Cleary/Getty Images

Long Beach Grand Prix won’t happen in April; rescheduling discussed

Leave a comment

After California Gov. Gavin Newsom restricting mass gatherings of 250 or more, Long Beach has canceled all large events through April 30, including its famous IndyCar race.

However, a statement from organizers indicated the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach might be rescheduled from its April 17-19 weekend.

“In light of today’s announcement from the City of Long Beach prohibiting all large-scale events in the City through April 30, 2020, the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will not take place as scheduled on April 17-19,” the statement read. “While we recognize that this is a serious inconvenience for our loyal attendees, sponsors and other clients, nevertheless, this action is consistent with our primary objective of assuring the public’s safety and well-being at our event.

“We are in conversation with the City of Long Beach, various race sanctioning bodies and the Long Beach Convention Center to discuss the viability of rescheduling this event at a later time in the year. If that is not possible, then we look forward to presenting the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 16-18, 2021. Further details about possible refunds or credits will be forthcoming.”

Because it’s a temporary layout that takes weeks to construct, street circuits are difficult to reschedule. IndyCar executive Mark Miles said Thursday that rescheduling the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg would be “highly unlikely” because “we’ve built a track. It’s tough to build it twice.”

The Long Beach Grand Prix had been held in the spring for 44 consecutive years, starting with Formula One (1976-83), then Champ Car (1984-07) and IndyCar (2008-19).

California has been one of states hit hard by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Nearly 180 coronavirus cases and a handful of deaths have been reported in California.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).