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Engines to roar for thundering Long Beach GP kickoff
Can't wait until the first day of races Friday to get revved up about the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach?

Then come check out tonight's Tecate Thunder Thursday, the downtown street party that launches the 37 th annual event weekend.

The Downtown Long Beach Associates and The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach have put together an evening filled with fast cars, music, motorcycle stunts and a beauty pageant.

The party scene plays out on Pine Avenue and Broadway, where professional drivers also will be hanging out to sign autographs, show off their hot rods and compete in pit stop competitions.

Here's what's happening tonight:

6:45 p.m. Pit stop competition

7:05 p.m. Motocross freestyle show

7:30 p.m. Motorcycle stunts

7:45 p.m. Pit stop competition

8:05 p.m. Motocross freestyle show

8:30 p.m. Motorcycle stunts

9 p.m. Tecate Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Pageant

For those wanting to maneuver past the traffic, check out the following street closures now in effect until 5 p.m. Monday:

Shoreline Drive westbound from Ocean Boulevard and Alamitos Avenue will be closed.

The southbound Long Beach (710) Freeway will be closed to traffic beyond Broadway. During this closure, all southbound traffic will be diverted onto Broadway.

Did you know?

That it takes more than 14 million pounds of concrete blocks, 16,000 bolted-together tires and 3miles of fencing to set up the race course for the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach?

It took crews more than 30,000 working hours to build it for this weekend's event, which this year is expected to draw more than 170,000 people to its six featured races, including the IZOD IndyCar Series.  San Jose Mercury News

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