Grand Prix weekend kicks off this week with two motorsports legends being inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame in the morning, and the Downtown Long Beach Associates’ 15th annual Thunder Thursday shutting down Pine Ave. in the evening.
Robby Gordon and Bryan Herta will be the newest inductees to the Walk of Fame at the Grand Prix’s 10th annual induction ceremony, which will be held at 11:00 am on South Pine Avenue in front of the Convention Center, along the route of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The event is free and open to the public.
“Robby Gordon and Bryan Herta have made legendary contributions to the field of motorsports, and they have truly earned their place on the Motorsports Walk of Fame,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. “These two honorees have delighted race fans for years, here in Long Beach and around the world.”
Gordon, a Southern California native, has racked up wins in IndyCar, NASCAR, sports cars and off-road racing. He finished 3rd in the 1994 IndyCar Series at Long Beach, and has two victories here—the 1992 Trans-Am Series and the 2014 Formula Off-Road Series. Gordon also has three NASCAR wins with his Robby Gordon Motorsports, and has won the Baja 500 three times, in 1989, 1990, and 2005.
Herta has an equally impressive career in motorsports as both a driver and an owner. He drove to a third-place finish at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in 1998 and 1999, and won the 1993 Indy Lights Series championship. He started the Indianapolis 500 five times, finishing third in 2005. Six years later he was the winning owner of the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 with his team, Bryan Herta Autosport, which he co-founded in 2009.
“We’re delighted that Robby and Brian have agreed to be inducted into this year’s Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach in a statement. “They are certainly deserving and now join an illustrious list of honorees who have preceded them over the past nine years.”
Thursday evening, the roar of engines will eco through Downtown Long Beach as Pine Ave. is closed down at Broadway for Thunder Thursday, the DLBA’s annual celebration of all things motorized.
In addition to a Motocross Freestyle demo, a pit stop competition, a classic car show, and the Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach kick-off, drivers will be on hand to sign autographs, and Hustler Casino, a sponsor of Thunder Thursday, will be on site to provide visitors with giveaways, games, and the chance to score some prizes.
The induction ceremony and Thunder Thursday kick off the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, which brings more than 175,000 people to Downtown Long Beach. For more information, visit www.gplb.com, call (888) 82-SPEED, or follow the race on Facebook at GrandPrixLB, Twitter @ToyotaGPLBand Instagram at ToyotaGPLB.