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Sunday, April 15, 2012 on NBC


Updated: Drivers in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race

Photo credit:

Ken Gushi and William Fichtner celebrating victory at the 2011 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.



LONG BEACH, Calif. – Taking to the streets of Long Beach, Calif., in April, celebrities from film, TV, sports and music will compete against professional drivers at the 36th Annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. The group of internationally renowned stars forgo the glitz of the red carpet for a few weekends each spring in order to support Racing for Kids, a national nonprofit program that benefits children’s hospitals throughout the country.

The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is the longest-running and most prestigious celebrity racing event in the world, and it has given more than 550 celebrities unparalleled access to the surprising glamour of the sport of race-car competition. Popular actors, performers and public personalities are provided the opportunity to go up against professional racers during the 10-lap sprint around the 1.97-mile street circuit through downtown Long Beach. All drivers are provided with identical race-ready Scion tCs—the race begins with the pros starting 24 seconds behind the celebrity field.

The lineup includes celebrities, professional drivers, two charity auction winners and a Toyota dealer. Here is the 2012 field:

She normally reports on the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race from her anchor’s seat in the “Good Day LA” studio, but for the second consecutive year JILLIAN BARBERIE REYNOLDS will switch gears and get behind the wheel to take a shot at winning the grand prize. As co-host of the Emmy Award–winning, top-rated Fox morning show for the past 16 years, Reynolds created the much loved segments “Style File” and “Adopt a Pet.” In 2000, she joined “Fox NFL Sunday,” which she co-hosted weekly during the NFL season alongside Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson.

Returning for his third run at the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is Academy Award–winning actor ADRIEN BRODY. Brody’s Oscar win for Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist” makes him, to date, the youngest winner of the Best Actor statue. He has worked for some of today’s most notable directors, in such films as Peter Jackson’s “King Kong,” M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Village,” Wes Anderson’s “Darjeeling Limited,” Spike Lee’s “Summer of Sam” and, most recently, Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning “Midnight in Paris” and “Detachment,” directed by auteur Tony Kaye.

ADAM CAROLLA is a radio and TV host, comedian and actor. He and Jimmy Kimmel are partners in the production company Jackhole Industries. Collaborations with Kimmel include the hit Comedy Central show “Crank Yankers,” as well as “The Man Show.” With Dr. Drew Pinsky, he hosted “Loveline,” a syndicated radio program and MTV series. He currently hosts the daily podcast “The Adam Carolla Show” and was a contestant on this season’s “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

Twice included as one of People en Espanol’s “most beautiful people,” KATE DEL CASTILLO is considered today’s best and most popular actress from Mexico. She was the star and title character of the immensely popular long-running miniseries “La Reina del Sur” (“The Queen of the South”), in which she portrayed the leader of a drug cartel. She had a splashy story arc in the Showtime series “Weeds” and well-reviewed performances in critically lauded feature films “Under the Same Moon,” “Trade” and “American Visa.” She recently wrapped a major role in the indie film “K-11.”

Prolific television actor EDDIE CIBRIAN has been seen in leading roles and high-profile guest spots in such series as “CSI: Miami,” “Ugly Betty,” “Vanished,” “Invasion,” “Third Watch,” “Sunset Beach,” “The Playboy Club” and “Baywatch Nights,” and in telefilms such as “Northern Lights,” “Washington Field” and “Healing Hands.” At one point, he simultaneously had recurring roles in three series (“Ugly Betty,” “Samantha Who?” and “The Starter Wife”). Next up for Cibrian is the Tyler Perry drama “Good Deeds.”

KIM COATES is heading into his fifth season as mercurial motorcycle club sergeant-at-arms Tig Trager on the FX hit series “Sons of Anarchy.” His film career kicked off with a bang in 1991 with “The Last Boy Scout,” and he’s since starred in more than 40 films, including the Academy Award–winning “Black Hawk Down,” “Pearl Harbor,” “The Client” and “Open Range.” He played Stanley Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire” on Broadway and “Macbeth” at the legendary Stratford Theatre. This year, he can be found on the big screen in “Goon” and “The Truth.”

Beloved for more than 20 years as Ashley Abbot on “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” EILEEN DAVIDSON has also appeared in daytime serials “Days of Our Lives” and “Santa Barbara.” Off-camera, the soap opera icon has written a series of mystery novels published by Penguin and revolving around—what else?—a beautiful soap opera actress.

Last year’s winner WILLIAM FICHTNER is returning to defend his Toyota Pro/Celebrity crown (he finished ahead of the field of pro drivers as well as the celebrities). The versatile actor was most recently seen in HBO’s “Entourage” and the Sundance film “Wrong.” He starred in the series “Prison Break,” as well as in blockbusters “Armageddon,” “Black Hawk Down,” “The Perfect Storm” and “Date Night” and in the indie cult favorite “Go.” Fichtner will also be seen in the highly anticipated redo of “The Lone Ranger,” opposite Johnny Depp.

Acclaimed television, film and stage actor HILL HARPER is an award-winning author and Harvard graduate who has appeared in “For Colored Girls,” “The Handler,” “City of Angels,” “Loving Jezebel” and “The Visit.” He now stars as Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on the hit television drama “CSI: NY,” part of the most successful television franchises in history.

Reality-TV star BRODY JENNER was a central cast member on the popular MTV reality series “The Hills” and has appeared in his stepsisters’ show “Kourtney & Kim Take New York.” By driving in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race, Brody is following in his father’s racing stripes: His dad, Olympic athlete Bruce, competed in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race five times, with two wins.

Former UFC Heavyweight champion CAIN VELASQUEZ has lost only one bout in his professional career. The proud Mexican-American mixed martial artist has appeared on the Spanish-language television networks Telemundo and Univision.

RUTLEDGE WOOD is a racing fan from way back—the host of “Top Gear USA” is also an auto-racing analyst for the Speed Channel.

Vying for a win in the pro category alongside last year’s celebrity winner Fichtner are FREDRIC AASBØ, BRYAN CLAUSON and JIM JONSIN. Scion drift driver AASBØ was 2010 Formula Rookie of the Year. CLAUSON, a former USAC National Midget champion, is a 2012 driver of Toyota-powered USAC teams. JONSIN is a Grammy award–winning record producer, an “American Idol” mentor and the owner of Rebel Rock Racing.

This year’s charity auction winners, given the opportunity to race thanks to their generous donations at a charity auction are: DOUGLAS FREGIN, co-founder and former vice president of operations for Research in Motion, who is returning for his second race as a charity auction winner, and JERRY WESTLUND, a nightclub owner who is a four-time charity auction winner. The final seat on the track for 2012, reserved each year for a Toyota dealer, is being filled by BIFF GORDON, general manager of Quality Toyota in Corona, Calif.

Toyota will donate $5,000 to Racing for Kids in the name of each celebrity racer and another $5,000 to the winning racer’s charity of choice. Additionally, a $15,000 donation will be made in conjunction with the 15th-annual People Pole Award. Sponsored by People magazine, the award honors the pole-position winner of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race qualifying session on Friday, April 13, 2012.

The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race takes place the following day, Saturday, April 14. In addition to participating in a practice session and a qualifying race on April 13, the drivers’ schedules include a visit to Long Beach’s Memorial Miller Children’s Hospital, which receives, along with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, a charitable donation in their names from Toyota.

On behalf of the race and its participants, Toyota has donated more than $2 million to these children’s hospitals since 1991.

To learn more about the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, one of six main-event attractions taking place during the 38th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, go to, visit our Facebook page (Toyota Racing), follow us on Twitter (@ToyotaRacing) or join the conversation with the participants at #TPCR.

Source: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach



Logo credit: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

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