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EZ Lube to sponsor drifting at Long Beach
Racing fans who love the tire-smoking, sliding-on-the-edge sport of Drifting have something special in store for them at the 33rd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 13-15.

EZ Lube, one of the nation's largest privately-owned oil change companies, has signed a two-year agreement to sponsor the EZ Lube Team Drift Challenge, which will feature six three-car teams piloted by the world's best Formula Drift drivers battling each other around the historic 1.97-mile, 11-turn street circuit.

The EZ Lube Team Drift Challenge is the first of four Formula Drift team championship points events to be held with Champ Car events in 2007.

The teams will compete each day of race weekend, with the winning team to be determined at the end of the Sunday, April 15 competition. 

"We are thrilled to be involved with the first Formula Drift team challenge," said Manish Patel, director of marketing for EZ Lube.  "In just a few short years, Drifting has become one of the most popular events at the Toyota Grand Prix, and this new team format should make for an exciting three days of competition."

"We are delighted that EZ Lube has chosen to upgrade their existing sponsorship package with us," said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach (GPALB).  "The concept of the EZ Lube Team Drift Challenge will add another dimension to Drifting competition, which has been from the outset one of the more competitive - and popular - events on our racing schedule."

Based in Santa Ana, Calif., EZ Lube was founded in 1988, and today serves more than one million customers each year at 78 locations with a wide variety of preventive maintenance, including oil changes, transmission and radiator service and tire rotation.

In 2004, the National Oil and Lube News, the industry's most respected publication, named EZ Lube as its "Operators of the Year." For more information, visit ezlube.com.

Drifting - which had its beginnings in the mountains of Japan - has become enormously popular in little more than three years, attracting hordes of race fans zeroing in on a sport that requires drivers to maintain control sliding sideways through corners - while appearing as out-of-control as possible! - and looking good doing it.

Drifting-related sales have surpassed the $750 million mark annually.  Formula Drift's 2007 schedule begins April 7 on a portion of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach course and ends in October.

Ticket prices for the 33rd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach range from $20 for  Friday general admission up to $120 for a three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seats in upper levels of the grandstands.  Pre-paid parking packages are also available when ordering through the Grand Prix Ticket Office.

For information or to purchase tickets, call the toll-free ticket hotline at (888) 82-SPEED or visit longbeachgp.com. A handy ticket brochure - which includes circuit map, grandstand and parking locations, ticket prices and order form - can also be obtained by calling the ticket hotline. Handicapped seating, Bosch Champ Car Garage passes, super photo tickets and a variety of hospitality club packages are also available.

For more information on Formula Drift, visit formulad.com.

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