Saturday, July 31, 2021

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is a Win for Alexander Rossi

Alexander Rossi in NAPA Auto Parts Indy Car wins 2019 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach photo by Fast Eddie White

*The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is a 5 star event and annual spectacle that takes over the streets and marina of the ocean side city in California, and it is viewed around the world.

Once again, drivers and fans were filled with excitement and joy as they witnessed racing engines and roaring crowds. The winner of this year’s race on April 14th was Alexander Rossi, a native of Nevada City, Ca.

Rossi is a 4 year Andretti Driver who stunned the field of the 85 laps with a 23 second winning margin, the largest since 1995, giving Team Andretti its 200th win.  Rossi won the Indianapolis 500 in 2016.  He’s also a former Formula One Driver and Baja 1000 participant, reminiscent of the drivers of yester year.

The Grand Prix of Long Beach is the longest running major street race in North America. It has introduced many fans to a life long passion.  This sports enthusiast was first exposed to the event by my God-Mother.  It was one of the greatest gifts ever received. It was 1975, people wore bell bottom jeans & long hair and the city streets had been converted to an awesome circuit that matched the Monaco Grand Prix. From that time until now, I have a greater appreciation of the need for speed and “Fast Eddie” White can’t wait until 2020.

A Hidden Figure is revealed at the Grand Prix of Long Beach with four decades of service and three generations of family participation.  LaRita “Jazzy Rita” Shelby caught this exclusive report for

Myrna Thompson (81) long time volunteer at Long Beach Grand Prix 2019 Photo by Fast Eddie White 2019

Out front, thousands of fans fill the stands, a circus of automobile compounds encamp the tracks and each signature unit employs an entourage of mechanics and technicians who support the mission of each competing car and driver.  Every major auto brand in the world is represented in the high stake’s world of Indy Auto Racing.  Behind the scenes, another universe of staff exists for the Grand Prix.  This world includes executives, racing officials, press agents, journalists, photographers, administrative staff and dedicated volunteers.  Among the elite personnel and star drivers at this year’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, a gentle gem was spotted, and this newly born race fan had to inquire.  Who was the 81 year old lovely lady who added such diversity to the atmosphere?  She is Myrna Thompson and she’s been a volunteer with the Grand Prix of Long Beach for more than forty years.

Myrna: “I started off on the committee of three hundred and we were volunteers and then I got involved with the Grand Prix Association.  None of this do we get paid for, but the prize is pride.”

Ms. Myrna Thompson is a Long Beach native who taught real estate and psychology before retiring. She also taught her children to have pride in their city and instilled in them the importance of service to the community.   In her case, one of the premiere racing events in the world is held in the city where she grew up and she insisted that her daughter and grandson donate their time to the Grand Prix of Long Beach and continue her legacy of service.  For all the details of the 2019 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach or for a forecast of the 2010 Grand Prix, click here at the official Grand Prix of Long Beach website. 


LaRita Shelby
LaRita "Jazzy Rita" Shelby is a broadcast media & marketing professional. She serves as Director of Digital Strategy and Sales at Additionally she is an actress, singer/songwriter who has appeared on TV and in film.



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