It was a fast Friday at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach as cars roared down Shoreline Drive and the whole spectacle of the event kicked into full gear.
It began when the first cars turned their first wheels on the famous street track and fans cruised through the entrances, some ready to enter before the gates even opened in the morning.
Throughout the day, people lined up for autograph sessions – including those from the NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers – walked through the Lifestyle Expo looking at the cars and vendor booths, browsed and bought merchandise, took full advantage of all the food and drink options and took out their cellphones to get photos and videos of themselves and the fast-moving cars. Kids really enjoyed the Fun Zone, especially bouncing on the inflatables.
Not only that but the clouds and mist from earlier in the week succumbed to sunshine and shirt-sleeve weather typical of Grand Prix weekend.
All six racing organizations taking part in the Acura Grand Prix saw action on Friday. In the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, which had a late afternoon practice session, the personable Pato O’Ward led the pack, followed by Scott Dixon, Colton Herta, Marcus Ericsson and Alexander Rossi in the top 5. You can find all the results and times at the IndyCar website.
When daytime transformed into the evening, Mexican-American DJ and producer Boombox Cartel was booming tunes during the free concert at the same time the Super Drift Challenge drivers were challenging for the win in the first of its two weekend showcase events. Saturday, the music is from all-star rock band Kings Of Chaos.
Rome Charpentier, coming off a second-place run at the Formula Drift season-opener, took Super Drift Challenge #1 over two-time defending champ Forrest Wang.
On Saturday, the gates open at 7:30 a.m., with a full day that includes the first of two Historic F1 Challenge races on the weekend (11:20 a.m.), INDYCAR qualifying at 12:05 p.m., the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar race at 2 p.m., the first of two weekend races for the SPEED/UTV Stadium Super Trucks (4:30 p.m.) and Porsche Carrera Cup (5:15 p.m.) as well as the final Super Drift Challenge at 7 p.m.