The 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach has been rescheduled for Sunday, Sept. 26 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials from INDYCAR announced today. Long Beach is one of the foundational events on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule and one of the longest running.
Additionally, the move creates a thrilling three-race, three-weekend west coast swing to complete the championship. Beginning at Portland International Raceway on Sunday, Sept. 12, the homestretch continues at, what would be the finale under normal conditions, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, Sept. 19, before finishing on the historic streets of Long Beach.
“It is important to have Long Beach rescheduled to continue the history and tradition for one of the series’ hallmark events in one of the nation’s premier media markets,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “Further, it’s a tremendous opportunity to wrap up the season with three-straight iconic venues for what we believe will be our most exciting season yet. As we did during the 2020 season, we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and maintain flexibility across our schedule. We are committed to an action-packed and exhilarating 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES.”
The September race weekend at Long Beach becomes the first since the event’s inception in 1975. It will mark the 37th time the NTT INDYCAR SERIES has raced on Southern California’s legendary street circuit. The familiar sights and sounds make for the longest running event on the schedule outside of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
“I want to thank all of the officials at INDYCAR for their assistance in rescheduling the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach to September,” Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian said. “We believe that this move will afford us the best opportunity to provide our guests with a fun and exciting experience in a safe and unrestricted environment. It will be a welcome sight to see the NTT INDYCAR SERIES cars and stars back on the downtown streets of Long Beach in the fall.”
An updated listing of green flag times for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule will be announced at a later date.
But, this move was absolutely needing to be made. It was looking more and more bleak that the series would be able to race there with fans next April. This event has seen crowds in excess of 150k in the past and having that many people in one setting that early in the year didn’t make much sense.
Then, without having a race run there in 2020, you can’t go back-to-back years without a race at Long Beach without any fans. Whenever they run again, which hopefully will be in September now, a big crowd is needed.
But, to where the end of the season could get interesting is that the final three races are all on the west coast with two of them being in California. There’s some strict sanctions in the state right now and some speculate on if any big event would even be able to happen in California in 2021. Oregon is in a similar place.
With that said, if the west coast is once again off limits, INDYCAR would have the entire month of September open to fill to end the year. It’s also wise to how they put all three races together on three straight weekends so that if they don’t end up being able to go, you have one grouping left to coordinate.