Free Thursday Long Beach schedule announced

Get set to call in sick on Thursday, April 17!

That's when the 34th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach adds yet another day of action – on and off the track – with Thursday "Free-View."

No race ticket required.

For the first time ever on the city streets, cars and drivers from the Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach race will be turning hot practice laps on a Thursday at 3 p.m. and 4:45 p.m., sandwiched around EZ Lube Formula Drift/Super Lap Battle practice at 4 p.m. At the same time, the Lifestyle and Alternative Energy Expo in the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center will be open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

At 11 a.m., racing greats Mario Andretti and Parnelli Jones will be inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame (Pine Ave. at the Convention Center), joining past inductees Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Paul Newman, Carl Haas, Chris Pook and Brian Redman. Former land speed record holder Gary Gabelich will also be inducted posthumously.

But all of that is just the beginning.

Tecate's "Thursday Thunder on Pine" from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. will feature car displays, live music, exhibits and pit stop contests. There will be free admission to "Shark Lagoon" "at the Aquarium of the Pacific (6 p.m. to 9 p.m.) that includes live music. "Tuner Thursday at The Pike," starting at 6:30 p.m., will feature Drifting and tuner car displays, driver autographs and restaurant special events. And, "Racemania at Shoreline Village" (3 p.m. to 10 p.m.) will offer free 30-minute harbor cruises, live music, go-karting and extended happy hour prices at various Shoreline Village locations.

Ticket prices for Friday through Sunday at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach range from $25 for a Friday General Admission ticket (no reserved seat) to $125 for a three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seating in grandstand upper levels. Pre-paid parking packages are also available.

Credit card orders for the 2008 event can be placed by calling the toll-free ticket hotline – (888) 82-SPEED – or online by visiting Handicapped seating, Champ Car Paddock Passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of Hospitality Club packages are also available. A ticket brochure that includes a circuit map, ticket prices and order form can be obtained by calling the hotline.

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