Cyclists, Skaters Test Long Beach Grand Prix Track Ahead of Race

By Hetty Chang
|  Friday, Apr 19, 2013  |  Updated 5:22 PM PDT
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The streets of Long Beach have been transformed into a race track in preparation for this weekend's Grand Prix. On Thursday afternoon, the public had a chance to test the race track using bicycles and skates. Hetty Chang reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on April 18, 2013.

Hetty Chang

The streets of Long Beach have been transformed into a race track in preparation for this weekend's Grand Prix. On Thursday afternoon, the public had a chance to test the race track using bicycles and skates. Hetty Chang reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on April 18, 2013.

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The city of Long Beach has been busy preparing for its largest event of the year.

The 39th annual Toyota Grand Prix runs from April 19 to 21, and is expected to bring in 170,000 visitors through the weekend.

For the first time in the race's long history in Long Beach, race organizers and the city opened up the 2-mile race track to the public Thursday. Dozens of people walked, biked and roller skated around the track ahead of the big race weekend.

Construction began on the track two months ago. The crews have it down to a science, according to Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster.

"We start putting all the material together, it gets done in an orderly fashion so it has little impact to the business down here," Foster said.

The event is expected to make an economic impact of $25 million to the local economy.

"It's the busiest four days in a row, from Thursday night on, it's nonstop," said Kevan Vance, owner of the Taco Beach restaurant on Pine Avenue.

"It’s the perfect host city," said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association.

A complete schedule of the weekend's events can be found by clicking here.

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