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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 10:37 EDT

Expert Las Vegas Odds-Maker Picks TV Host Mark Steines To Win 2013 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race

April 9, 2013

Pro Handicapper Anthony Curtis Puts Actor Michael Trucco, Racing Analyst Rutledge Wood Close Behind in “Wide Open” Competition for Charitable Race

LONG BEACH, Calif., April 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –TV host Mark Steines is making his fourth return to the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, and professional handicapper Anthony Curtis thinks this might be his winning year. Steines, host of the Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family,” and past “Entertainment Tonight” personality, is one of 19 participants who will race in the prestigious 10-lap charitable event on April 20 as part of the 39(th) annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Curtis is president of LasVegasAdvisor.com and one of the world’s most recognized gambling authorities. For the past six years, Curtis has bench-marked Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race participants by watching training exercises and drawing on his knowledge of the famed 1.97-mile circuit through Long Beach, Calif. streets. Steines’ 6-1 odds are the longest for a favorite since Curtis began evaluating the field, and they are closely followed by the handicapping on actor Michael Trucco, racing analyst Rutledge Wood, motocross champion Andy Bell and philanthropist Carter Lay. All participants will drive 210-horsepower Scion FR-S race vehicles.

The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is the longest-running, corporate sponsored event of its kind and benefits Racing for Kids, a national fundraising program supporting U.S. children’s hospitals. Since 1991, Toyota has donated more than $2 million on behalf of this race and its participants.

Last year, Curtis gave comedian Adam Carolla an early advantage in the race and the funny podcaster sped beyond them to win the race overall, even beating out the four professional drivers. This year, Carolla will race as a professional, but his odds are 12-1 due to the challenge that all professional participants face starting slightly behind the celebrities.

“This year’s odds structure paints a picture of a wide-open race with several skilled celebrities challenging the pro drivers for the win,” Curtis said. “Watching all the challengers in action gives me insight into who is ready for the adrenaline rush of race day and who needs more practice. In the end, the celebrities and pros alike play an important role in supporting the charitable goal of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.”

Curtis’s exclusive expert predictions are solely for entertainment purposes on www.lasvegasadvisor.com. The full list of racers’ odds are as follows:

    Celebrities

    Mark Steines (6-1)                                               It's been eight years since the
                                                                     Emmy award-winning journalist and
                                                                     TV host tried for the Toyota Pro/
                                                                     Celebrity Race trophy. He was
                                                                     looking strong at training and
                                                                     maybe the past attempts will give
                                                                     Steines an edge over the
                                                                     competition.

    Michael Trucco (7-1)                                             Back for a second time, the actor
                                                                     of "Battlestar Galactica" fame
                                                                     loved the FR-S during training.
                                                                     Trucco will need to drive the
                                                                     sports car at his best to earn a
                                                                     spot in the winner's circle.

    Rutledge Wood (8-1)                                              Another second-time racer, the
                                                                     racing commentator has both
                                                                     analyzed drivers and driven at
                                                                     high speeds. Can he combine the
                                                                     knowledge and edge out the other
                                                                     racers?

    Jesse Metcalfe (11-1)                                            The "Dallas" actor may be a race
                                                                     rookie, but he learned to drive a
                                                                     NASCAR racecar for his television
                                                                     role. Metcalfe's fans will no
                                                                     doubt be cheering for him to take
                                                                     home the prize.

    Kate del Castillo (11-1)                                         The acclaimed Mexican actress is
                                                                      back again, with significantly
                                                                      improved odds over last year's
                                                                      24-1. She'll need to continue her
                                                                      upward momentum and add some fiery
                                                                      passion from her movie roles to
                                                                      win.

    Dakota Meyer (15-1)                                              Familiar with staying calm under
                                                                     pressure, the Medal of Honor
                                                                     recipient will need to rely on
                                                                     quick-thinking and driving to
                                                                     edge out the other racers.

    Jeremy Sisto (16-1)                                              The "Suburgatory" star displayed
                                                                     lots of focus during training, but
                                                                     Sisto will need to dig deeper to
                                                                     finish strong in this star-
                                                                     studded competition.

    Jessica Hardy (18-1)                                             The swimmer and Olympic medalist
                                                                     showed her competitive spirit and
                                                                     drive at training, but she must
                                                                     increase her pace if she's going
                                                                     for Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race
                                                                     gold in her hometown of Long
                                                                     Beach, Calif.

    Brett Davern (18-1)                                              He may star in MTV's hit series
                                                                     "Awkward," but Davern showed track
                                                                     poise and a commitment to learning
                                                                     every technique. He'll need to
                                                                     overcome his inexperience to claim
                                                                     a victory.

    Jackson Rathbone (19-1)                                          His role in the hit "Twilight"
                                                                     movie series may have earned him
                                                                     devoted vampire-loving fans, but
                                                                     the competition is alive and
                                                                     kicking on all sides of him.

    Jenna Elfman (27-1)                                              The funny "1600 Penn" actress
                                                                     couldn't wait to get behind the
                                                                     wheel in training. Elfman will
                                                                     likely finish with a smile if she
                                                                     can beat out a few other
                                                                     celebrities.

    Wanda Sykes (38-1)                                               The Emmy award-winning comedian
                                                                     had ready jokes and fun during
                                                                     training, but she'll need to pick
                                                                     up the speed if she wants the last
                                                                     laugh.

    The Southern California Toyota dealer seat is being filled by
     Glenn Faber, partner and general manager of Los Angeles area
     Keyes Toyota. Also in this year's race are charity auction
     winners Dave Pasant and Carter Lay.

    Carter Lay (8-1)                                                 With a love of sports cars and
                                                                     desire to do good, the Toyota Pro/
                                                                     Celebrity Race is the perfect fit
                                                                     for the philanthropist and
                                                                     LAY'S(R) chips heir. Can he
                                                                     translate it to a win?

    Dave Pasant (9-1)                                                Participating for his fifth time,
                                                                     this retired insurance executive
                                                                     has lots of experience with the
                                                                     race. Pasant looked strong in
                                                                     training and may surprise the
                                                                     crowd.

    Glenn Faber (17-1)                                               This Toyota dealer knows all about
                                                                     cars but will need to push the FR-
                                                                     S to its limits to stay
                                                                     competitive on race day.

    The celebrity field gets a 25-second head start on the
     professional drivers. This year's diverse racing group includes
     drivers from several different types of roads.

    Andy Bell (8-1)                                                  The motocross champion and MTV's
                                                                     "Nitro Circus" star has earned
                                                                     Guinness Book World Records and
                                                                     made death-defying stunts look
                                                                     easy. Will Bell's daredevil
                                                                     driving land him on top of the
                                                                     podium?

    Tyler Clary (10-1)                                               The Olympic gold medal swimmer has
                                                                     begun a second career in racing,
                                                                     bringing his athlete intensity and
                                                                     dedication. Can he triumph on the
                                                                     track?

    Adam Carolla (12-1)                                              Funnyman Carolla won last year's
                                                                     race as a celebrity but faces
                                                                     stiff competition as a pro. Can he
                                                                     keep everyone laughing and come
                                                                     out ahead?

    Melanie Troxel (12-1)                                            The National Hot Rod Association
                                                                     (NHRA) driver has set records
                                                                     driving at speeds above 300 mph
                                                                     but must transition to the curves
                                                                     and style of this race. If she can
                                                                     adapt, she may take the prize.

“Each year, Anthony Curtis’s predications add another level of friendly competition to this charitable race event,” said Les Unger, Toyota’s national motorsports manager. “Our drivers push themselves to beat the odds, bringing fans a great performance and benefiting sick kids who need the support.”

Each year Toyota donates $5,000 to Racing for Kids on behalf of each participant and another $5,000 to the winning racer’s charity of choice. A $15,000 donation accompanies the annual People Pole Award, the People magazine-sponsored award honoring the pole-position qualifying session winner on April 19.

To learn more about the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, go to www.toyotaracing.com, visit Toyota Racing on Facebook or on Twitter @ToyotaRacing, or join the conversation with the participants using #TPCR.

NOTE: Celebrity odds are provided for entertainment purposes only. Wagering on the outcome of the race is neither encouraged nor implied.

ABOUT ANTHONY CURTIS
Anthony Curtis is one of the world’s most recognized and quoted gambling authorities. The president of LasVegasAdvisor.com, he has appeared as a casino expert on “Dateline NBC,” “48 Hours,” A&E, E! Entertainment, Discovery, the Travel Channel, the Food Channel and the Learning Channel. He has been the subject of articles in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Diego Union-Tribune, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel and Discover magazine. Curtis is author of Bargain City–Booking, Betting and Beating the New Las Vegas and The Art of Gambling Through the Ages. Considered one of the world’s foremost experts in tournament play, Curtis’s top tournament wins include $76,000 in the World Matchplay Blackjack Championship, $125,000 in the Atlantic City Craps Championship, $50,000 in the Las Vegas Keno Championship and $60,000 in the Las Vegas Blackjack Championship.

About Toyota
Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. Toyota directly employs over 31,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $23 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.

Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed nearly $700 million to philanthropic programs in the U.S.

For more information on Toyota’s commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/philanthropy.

CONTACT:

Les Unger
Toyota Racing
310-468-4709
les_unger@toyota.com

Erika Romero
Toyota Racing
310-468-3948
erika_romero@toyota.com

Rebecca Lee
GolinHarris for Toyota
213-438-8827
rlee@golinharris.com

Sharon Noot
Noot Incorporated
714-527-7735
sharon@nootinc.com

SOURCE Toyota


Source: PR Newswire