1st timers have a blast in race cars at Toyota Grand Prix in Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The streets of downtown Long Beach are full of racing fans as they attend the second day of the 44th Toyota Grand Prix.

Tiger Cruz, 10, attended the event for the first time and his friend Diego Ramirez said it was his seventh time.

"You could feel the wind going and in a blink it's already gone," Tiger said.

More than 180,000 fans crowded the streets for all the festivities, including the qualifying races for the IndyCar series and the historic Trans-Am race.

Some lucky people even got to ride in a race car.

"It's what we live for. This is our business. I've been an adrenaline junkie all my life and that's why I feel I'm still living the dream by doing what I'm doing," Mario Andretti said.

The legendary racer continued to introduce first-timers to the sport and gave ridealongs in the IndyCars ahead of Saturday's events.

"They come away a little bit struck...and they come away with a new appreciation for what it's all about," Andretti said.

John Halverson was one of the first timers to be in a race car and he said the experience did not disappoint.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was really fun," he said. "There's a lot of G-forces that kind of want to move you around and you really have to bear down when you go into the turns because you just don't expect it."

The event ends Sunday and people are encouraged to use public transportation since many streets are closed.
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