Champ Car affiliate buys Long Beach race

By wire services
Published May 25, 2005

LONG BEACH, Calif. - The Long Beach Grand Prix will be sold to an affiliate of the Champ Car World Series for $15-million, ensuring the race will remain a stop on the series' schedule.

Champ Cars, which replaced Formula One 21 years ago in Long Beach, was in the final year of a contract with the race, and Long Beach officials were considering a switch to the rival Indy Racing League next year.

Dover Motorsports, parent company of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, announced Tuesday that Aquarium Asset Management was making the purchase, which must be approved by the Long Beach City Council. A vote on the matter could come as early as June 7.

SHOW ME THE $$: Race track mogul Bruton Smith suggested that a monorail be built to connect a proposed NASCAR Hall of Fame to Lowe's Motor Speedway, and pledged $50-million of his personal funds to jump-start the effort.

Smith, owner of several NASCAR tracks, envisions the monorail running along current state-owned roads beginning at the downtown Charlotte site that's been proposed for the Hall of Fame. The train would travel into Concord with stops near UNC-Charlotte, University Hospital, the Speedway and Concord Mills shopping center.

Smith said he had no idea how much the project would cost, what land would be used, and said he had yet to discuss the monorail with Gov. Mike Easley. Smith said the project would need local and state funds to be completed.

NEW ROLE: Nextel Cup driver Jimmie Johnson won't be getting into one of the entries at the All-American Soap Box Derby, but he will be the event's national spokesman.

One of Johnson's sponsors is the title sponsor for the Soap Box Derby. The races will be held July 30.