(FOX 11) It's early morning in Long Beach and police cars and various crews are circling the two mile track that snakes through the downtown area. This will be a day of practice and qualifying races for this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
But there is no escaping the elephant on the track: What's happening in Boston. Everyone here from the PR people with whom I'm dealing to flagmen and others we've met are all aware of the intense drama in Boston and the surrounding area.
It's one of those stories, though, that has implications here. They're expecting about 175,000 people out here this weekend for races and concerts. It's a huge event that's been going on 39 years, but never in it's nearly four decades has there been a situation in which terrorism affected the nation the same week as this major event.
For Jim Michaelian, the president and ceo of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, said it's meant ratcheting up security.
Events like this are viewed by law enforcement as potential "soft targets." In other words, they are events where enormous crowds show up and the bad guys can too.
Here, Michaelian tells me, there will be bag checks, uniformed and undercover officers and additional measures for an event that always has a sizeable security component.
As we stand by the track, race cars are now starting to whiz by. The noise is deafening. Any other year this would be the only thing on the minds of people out here. But, it seems this is not a normal year.