first_img While Long Beach evidently is gaining a date, it also appears California Speedway will lose the series in 2006. Both the Grand Am Rolex Series and Grand-Am Cup have been part of the Fontana racing schedule since 2003. Nate Siebens, a Grand-Am spokesman, would neither confirm or deny the Long Beach date. However, he did say talks between the sanctioning body and the speedway, owned by International Speedway Corp., are ongoing. Jim France, a member of the Grand Am leadership, also is a member of the ISC board. “There is a continuing dialogue with California Speedway for an event in 2006,” Siebens said Monday night. “We are not necessarily looking to replace the California Speedway event with another event. “We are not ruling out Fontana as a potential venue for 2006 at this point. There will be more information (in) Wednesday’s (announcement).” The departure of the series from Fontana resulted from a clash in marketing strategies. While speedway officials viewed the Grand American weekend as a stand-alone event, the direction of the sanctioning body was to be a companion event. “We can only speak for California Speedway,” spokesman Dennis Bickmeier said. “We don’t have a sanction agreement for 2006, but we are keeping our options open. “As recently as the last two weeks, our president (Zucker) has had discussions about strategies going forward. It’s our understanding that Grand Am wants to be a companion event, they have had much success with NASCAR and their drivers coming over. “We don’t have a companion event for Grand Am to run with at California Speedway.” Grand Am has shared the track with NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series three times this year, twice at Daytona and once at Watkins Glen, both ISC-owned venues. In 2002, Grand Am was a companion to the inaugural Indy Racing League event at Fontana. “We have enjoyed great Grand Am racing at Fontana,” Bickmeier said. It would be the first time such cars have appeared at a street race. The Grand Am race likely would run its Rolex Cup Series race the Saturday of race weekend, a day before the LBGP’s headline event the Champ Car World Series takes to the track, one source said. Grand-Am likely would bring its Rolex Series Daytona Prototype category to Long Beach, a class that features rounded, futuristic-looking chassis. The likes of Lexus, Pontiac, BMW, Porsche and Ford compete in the series as do some names familiar to area race fans. Scott Pruett who raced Champ Cars at the LBGP nine times and finished as high as second races alongside other former Champ Car competitors Max Papis and Christian Fittipaldi in the series. Alex Gurney, the son of LBPG co-founder and racing legend Dan Gurney, also competes. The series typically runs about 20 cars. The arrival of Grand-Am may not bring the departure of Trans-Am, a sports car series that has run regularly at the LBGP. Paul Gentilozzi, who owns the rights to the series, has indicated he expects Trans-Am to be back. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The 2006 LBGP is set for April 7-9. Jim Michaelian, the CEO of the Grand Prix Association, declined comment. California Speedway president Gillian Zucker was unavailable for comment. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 The Grand American Series the road racing circuit owned by members of NASCAR’s France family is apparently leaving California Speedway and heading to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach lineup. A news conference is scheduled for Wednesday when series and Long Beach race officials are expected to announce the deal that will bring the cars featured in the 24 Hours of Daytona to the streets of Long Beach, sources with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed. last_img read more