Thursday, April 15, 2010

2010 Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame: Andretti & Sullivan

Michael Andretti (talking with last year's LBMWOF inductee) and Danny Sullivan become the latest inductee's to the Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame. They join other inductee's of renown like Michael's father, Mario ... who was pushed aside by inductee Al Unser Jr. to win a Long Beach race in the 1989 LBGP (who was later pushed aside by teammate Danny Sullivan for his win in the 1992 LBGP), Bobby Rahal, Paul Newman & Carl Haas, Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Brian Redman, Chris Pook, Parnelli Jones, and Long Beach's own Bonneville world land speed record holder Gary Gabelich. Combo Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

2010 Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame: Andretti & Sullivan

Hummmmm, Andretti & Sullivan ... Andretti & Sullivan ... Andretti & Sullivan - sounds a little like a big Broadway show production but actually these are just the last names of the most recent inductee's to the Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame.

The City of Long Beach and the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach honored racing legends Danny Sullivan and Michael Andretti at the fifth annual Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame induction ceremony. Both men have won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach during their illustrious careers. The ceremony took place on Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 11:00 am on Pine Avenue in front of the Long Beach Convention Center.

4th Annual Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame inductees Bobby Rahal and Al Unser, Jr. share a word while standing in front of Parnelli Jones just before the medallion unveiling ceremony. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)

In only its 5th year, the LBMWOF Thursday late-morning ceremony has quickly become the traditional kickoff event to signal the beginning of the annual (36 years) Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach week.

The late-morning sun was bright and the large crowd ... sunny.

“Both of these driving legends certainly left their mark here at Long Beach and we are delighted to welcome them into the pantheon of existing honorees,” said Jim Michaelian, President/CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.

Danny Sullivan raced 11 times at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, winning in 1992 when he set a record with an average speed of 91.945 mph. In 1985, he made world-wide headlines for his incredible “spin and win” victory at the Indianapolis 500, where he spun around 360 degrees going 200 mph and went on to win one of the most memorable victories at the Brickyard. In addition, he was the 1988 CART World Series Champion and the Can-Am Rookie of the Year in 1980. Throughout his career he took a total of 17 checkered flags. He continues to contribute to the sport by helping to develop the next generation of Formula 1 drivers.

Michael Andretti has carved out a very impressive career as both a driver and owner. Andretti’s first checkered flag was the 1986 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, and his final victory as a driver was also in the Toyota Grand Prix, in 2002. Along the way he became the winningest driver in CART history, with 42 victories, including the season championship in 1991. He received the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award in 1984. After leaving the cockpit in 2003, Andretti went on to become the winningest owner in Indy Racing League history, with Indy 500 victories in 2005 and 2007, 34 IndyCar Series wins as well as consecutive IndyCar Series championships in 2004 and 2005.

The Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame medallions include renditions of the racers' cars and their major achievements in motorsports. 2008 inductee Mario Andretti's medallion above. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (The EDJE) 2008

"I'm delighted that we are adding two more legendary drivers to the Motorsports Walk of Fame – Danny Sullivan and Michael Andretti," said Mayor Bob Foster, who will be presenting the medallions to the honorees. "Every year the Walk of Fame kicks off a great week of Grand Prix events that brings thousands to Long Beach."

... notes from The EDJE

No comments: