Pruett Named Grand Marshal!

Hall of Fame driver Scott Pruett will serve as Grand Marshal for the 44th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, April 15, giving the command “Drivers, start your engines!” before the Verizon IndyCar Series race.

It’s been 36 years since, as a 22-year-old, Pruett won the 1982 Bridgestone Pro/Kart Challenge on the Long Beach city streets.  It helped launch a distinguished, versatile racing career that ended with his retirement following the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

A native of Roseville, Calif., Pruett is in three Halls of Fame: the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, World Karting Association Hall of Fame and the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame in 2012.

“We are absolutely delighted to have Scott serve as Grand Marshal this year,” said Jim Michaelian, President and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.  “His racing career has been intertwined with the events here in Long Beach over the years, and it is entirely appropriate that we recognize his contributions to our success here as well as to the entire world of motor sports.”

In Long Beach, Pruett won the Pro/Kart Challenge twice, won the 1987 Trans-Am race, 2006 Grand-Am race and the 2001 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.   In nine Long Beach Indy car races, he had best finishes of 2nd in 1995 and 3rd in 1997.

“Long Beach has always been a very special place for me,” said Pruett. “I remember, for my 16th birthday, some dear friends gave me tickets and brought me down.  Watching those F1 cars and meeting Niki Lauda was a dream come true.  Little did I know at the time, what an impact this great track would have on me.  I am truly honored to be the 2018 Grand Marshal.”

Overall, Pruett authored a remarkable 60 race wins that include five Rolex 24 overall victories.  He has also driven to an overall victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring and a class win at the 24 Hours of LeMans. Pruett also raced in IndyCars, winning twice (Michigan 1995, Australia 1997), the International Race of Champions (IROC) with two wins (Riverside 1988, Daytona 1991), NASCAR, with 3 top-four finishes, Trans Am with three championships over three decades (1987, 1994, 2003) and 24 wins, and five Grand-Am Championships.

He and his wife, Judy, will have plenty to keep them busy. Judy is president of their publishing company, Word Weaver Books, and together they have written four children’s books with titles such as “Racing Through the Alphabet” and “Twelve Little Race Cars.” They also own the successful Pruett Vineyard in Auburn, Calif., which they started in 2005 and now consistently produces some of the highest rated syrahs in the world, according to Wine Spectator. Scott will continue to be an ambassador for Lexus.

Ticket prices for Sunday start at $70 for a General Admission ticket.  Three-day tickets, pre-paid parking packages, handicapped seating, Verizon IndyCar Series Paddock access passes, Super Photo tickets and an array of VIP Club packages are also available.