Ticket sales up at Long Beach

Jim Michaelian is excited about the return of IndyCar racing teams owned by Roger Penske, Chip Ganassi, Bobby Rahal and Michael Andretti that have been absent from Long Beach in recent years.

And he's also excited about IRL luminaries such as Scott Dickson, Marco Andretti, Danica Patrick and Helio Castroneves – pending Castroneves' income tax troubles with the U.S. government – being able to race in Long Beach, as well as the return of Bobby Rahal's promising kid, Graham Rahal.

And Ashley Judd's hubby, Dario Franchitti, back from NASCAR, also is expected to be in the competition, meaning his actress wife figures to be visiting Long Beach for a few days, too.

"I always look forward to our race, but I'm even looking more forward to it this year because everyone in our sport now is on one page," says Michaelian. "That's a very refreshing development."

Apparently, the open-wheel aficionados feel the same way.

"Our tickets sales are ahead of last year's pace," says Michaelian.

That's pretty remarkable, considering the state of the economy. Presstelegram.com

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