Long Beach, Seal Beach, start your engines


Racing fans and car enthusiasts from Seal Beach and throughout the area are preparing for two of the industry’s top motorsports events expected to roll through in the next two weeks.

The city of Long Beach is busy preparing for the 44th annual Grand Prix and Seal Beach officials say they are ready for its 31st annual Classic Car Show.

The Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix kicks off two full days of events April 13-15, followed by the 31st Annual Seal Beach Car Show to be held April 28.

Both events are well known throughout the U.S. and around the world, especially among motorsports enthusiasts.

The Long Beach Grand Prix is the longest running major street race held in North America. It started in 1975 as a Formula 5000 race and became a Formula One event in 1976.

Organizers announced that Hall of Fame driver Scott Pruett will serve as Grand Marshal, having the honor of issuing the command “drivers, start your engines” before the Verizon IndyCar Series race gets underway.

According to the LBGP press release, it’s been 36 years since, as a 22-year-old, Pruett won the 1982 Bridgestone Pro/Kart Challenge on the Long Beach city streets.

It helped launch a distinguished, versatile racing career that ended with his retirement following the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

A native of Roseville, California, Pruett is in three Halls of Fame; the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, World Karting Association Hall of Fame and the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame in 2012.

“We are absolutely delighted to have Scott serve as Grand Marshal this year,” said Jim Michaelian, President and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “His racing career has been intertwined with the events here in Long Beach over the years, and it is entirely appropriate that we recognize his contributions to our success here as well as to the entire world of motor sports.”

The Long Beach Grand Prix in April is the single largest event in the city of Long Beach and organizers say it attracts plenty of fans from Seal Beach. Attendance for the weekend regularly reaches or exceeds 200,000 people.

In 2006, the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame was created to honor selected past winners and key contributors to the sport of auto racing.

Fans can also follow the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook at GrandPrixLB, Twitter @ToyotaGPLB, Instagram at ToyotaGPLB and Snapchat at ToyotaGPLB.

Ticket orders can also be placed by calling the toll-free ticket hotline, 888-827-7333.

Closer to home, the Seal Beach Chamber is expecting “thousands and thousands” of people to attend what they term “southern California’s most spectacular beachfront Classic Car Show.”

According to event chairman Scott Levitt, the event could bring more than 500 vintage and classic cars to Main Street, which he said on this day will be a “walking-only” street.

“This happens only one day per year in Old Town Seal Beach,” said Levitt in a press release. The event is free and open to the public, with ample free parking at the Naval Weapons Station, with pedestrian and shuttle access being provided to the show.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. and will continue until 3 p.m. Classic cars will be judged in approximately 30 classes.

Levitt said the festivities will include live music throughout the day from bands on three different stages (That Cover Band, Down the Hatch, Flying Squad, OC Invaders Band, and The Ramblers with Smith Sisters), fun and interesting vendor and nostalgic displays, a Pinewood Derby, celebrity appearances, Seal Beach Lion’s pancake breakfast and hotdog lunch, and a return by popular demand of the People’s Choice Award.

Moreover, the event is expected to bring global recognition to the city.

“We are proud to announce that the Seal Beach Classic Car Show will again be televised nationally on various cable networks. We believe it’s a perfect fit for our event, which showcases a beautiful beachfront location and some of the most distinguished and unique vintage automobiles in Southern California,” said Levitt.

Several celebrities are expected to attend, said Levitt, and they are expected to not only kick off the show, but also walk around and provide autographs for the public.

He said the 31st Annual Seal Beach Classic Car Show is an official event of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce and could not be produced without the support of generous sponsors, including Title Sponsor – G & M Oil; Platinum Sponsor, Seal Beach’s own Original Parts Group; along with returning sponsors The Sun Newspapers, the City, Selman Chevrolet, and our new sponsor, Republic Services.

Long Beach, Seal Beach, start your engines