Two-time Long Beach race winner Michael Andretti and Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Rai Benjamin will “start the engines” of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach as Grand Marshals during the Sept. 24-26 race weekend.
Benjamin, who will serve as Saturday’s Grand Marshal for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at approximately 2 p.m. PT, is an American track and field star who took home the silver medal in the 400-meter hurdles in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, his first Olympic competition. He also starred on the USC track and field team, notching a 47.02-second mark in the 400-meter hurdles, equaling Edwin Moses’ lifetime best and former world record, and is considered the second-fastest man in 400-meter hurdle history.
Andretti, who will be Grand Marshal for Sunday’s 46th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, set to start at approximately 12:45 p.m., is no stranger to the city streets with two wins as an Indy car driver (1986 and 2002), four wins as an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car owner (2010, 2011, 2018 and 2019) and a win as a Super Vee driver (1983). On race weekend, he’ll have four INDYCAR drivers competing with teams under his name.
“Long Beach was always a special place for me as a driver and has grown to be even more special now as a team owner,” said Andretti. “Some of my fondest career memories came from here. We really missed the race and all its fans in 2020 and are thrilled to have the opportunity to return this season. I’m especially honored to serve as this year’s Grand Marshal.”
“We’re delighted to have both Michael and Rai participating as Grand Marshals on race weekend at the Acura Grand Prix,” said Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President & CEO Jim Michaelian. “Michael has achieved so much here at Long Beach as has the whole Andretti family and, while Rai hasn’t ever competed here, nevertheless he has shown his own speed capability at the recent Olympics in Japan. A big Long Beach welcome to both.”
Saturday’s National Anthem will be sung by SPC Raivyn Hearne, vocalist with the 40th Infantry Division of the California Army National Guard, Joint Forces Training Base, Los Alamitos.
Sunday’s National Anthem will feature 10-year-old singer Anjali Singh, who has voiced the anthem at many events, including Clippers and Lakers games, Rams games, UCLA football and Monster Jam. She also sang to her idol Celine Dion in Las Vegas in 2019! You can follow her journey on Facebook and Instagram @anjalisinghmusic.
On Saturday, the Color Guard will feature soldiers from the U.S. Army Recruiting Command stationed in California, while Sunday’s duties will be handled by the California Army National Guard, based at Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos.
And, the flag will arrive from the skies courtesy of Team Fastrax, the only civilian parachute team to have performed at 9/11 Ground Zero ceremonies, the Pentagon, Independence Hall and the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Team Fastrax has successfully completed more than 175,000 skydives with precision, including at NASCAR, Formula One and previous races at Long Beach, as well as NFL and Major League Baseball games.
Fans can select and pay for their Grand Prix seats, parking and paddock passes online at gplb.com or by calling the toll-free ticket hotline, (888) 827-7333. Also featured on gplb.com is the latest Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach news and racetrack information, photos and ongoing announcements of special race week activities.
Ticket prices range from $34 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $155 for a three-day ticket that includes Sat./Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels. Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, NTT INDYCAR SERIES Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of hospitality packages.
Fans can also follow the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook (GrandPrixLB), Twitter @GPLongBeach (#AGPLB) and Instagram @GPLongBeach