Start Your Engines! 2009 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race Drivers Announced

March 10, 2009

Adrien Brody, Luke Wilson, Keanu Reeves, Raven-Symone, Alex Trebek Among the Stars Set to Get Behind the Wheel of Race-Ready Scion tCs for Charity on Saturday, April 18

LONG BEACH, Calif., March 10 /PRNewswire/ — A star-studded field of Hollywood’s elite will attempt to outpace and out-maneuver each other Saturday, April 18 in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, part of the 35th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The field of 20 drivers will compete in brand new race-ready Scion tCs in what has become the world’s longest-running, most successful celebrity racing event:

The historic, 10-lap race for charity on a 1.97-mile street circuit through the downtown streets of Long Beach in Southern California is one of six featured events during race weekend. This year’s field includes the following fiercely competitive entertainment and media personalities:

      -- Adrien Brody       Academy Award winning actor in 2002 for his role
                            in Roman Polanski's "The Pianist."  Other films
                            include "Cadillac Records," "The Darjeeling
                            Limited," "King Kong," "Summer of Sam."  The only
                            American actor ever to win a Cesar Award.
      -- Luke Wilson        Actor whose films include "3:10 to Yuma,"
                            "Vacancy," "My Super Ex-Girlfriend," "Anchorman:
                            The Legend of Ron Burgandy," "Charlie's Angels I &
                            II," "Old School," "Legally Blonde 1 & 2,"
      -- Keanu Reeves       Actor whose films include "The Day the Earth Stood
                            Still," "The Matrix," "The Matrix Reloaded," "The
                            Replacements," "Speed," "Walk in the Clouds,"
                            "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure."
      -- Jon Hamm           Golden Globe award winning actor and Emmy nominee
                            for "Mad Men." Also appeared in "The Day the Earth
                            Stood Still," "The Division" "Providence."
      -- Tim Daly           Actor, currently starring as Peter Wilder on the
                            "Grey's Anatomy" spin-off, "Private Practice."
                            Perhaps best known for his role as Joe Hackett on
                            "Wings," has also appeared on television in "The
                            Nine," "The Fugitive" and "The Associate."
                            Nominated for an Emmy for his recurring guest role
                            on "The Sopranos."
      -- Tyson Beckford     Model, actor and co-host of the Bravo series "Make
                            Me a Supermodel."  Film credits include
                            "Zoolander," "Into the Blue," and "Biker Boyz."
      -- Alex Trebek        Five-time Emmy award winning host of the
                            television game show, "Jeopardy!" Trebek has
                            appeared in more than 70 movies and television
                            shows, most often appearing as himself.
      -- Raven-Symone       Actress, R&B/pop singer, songwriter and dancer,
                            best known for her roles on "Cosby" and her own
                            show, "That's So Raven." Films include "College
                            Road Trip," "The Princess Diaries 2," "Dr.
                            Doolittle 2."  Other television appearances
                            include "The Cheetah Girls," "Hanging with Mr.
      -- Eric Close         Actor, currently co-starring on CBS's "Without a
                            Trace" as FBI agent Martin Fitzgerald.  Other
                            television roles include "Steven Spielberg's
                            Taken," "Now and Again," "Dark Skies," "Sisters,"
                            "The Magnificent Seven."
      -- Mary Lynn Rajskub  Actress, artist and comedienne best known as CTU
                            tech analyst Chloe O'Brian on Fox's "24."  Film
                            roles include "Legally Blond 2," "Dude Where's My
                            Car," "Punch Drunk Love," "Sweet Home Alabama,"
      -- Carlos Mencia      Comedian and host of Comedy Central's "Mind of
                            Mencia." Has appeared in "The Heartbreak Kid," "29
      -- Danny Way          Legendary pro-skateboarder. Multiple world record
                            holder and the only person to jump the Great Wall
                            of China on a skateboard. Multiple gold & silver
                            medal X Games winner and X-Games TV commentator.
                            Launching a clothing line with DC in Spring 2009.
      -- Ken Baker          Executive News Editor of E! Entertainment

Jamie Little, ESPN/ABC pit reporter for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, who was the celebrity and overall winner of the 2008 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, returns to compete in the “Pro” category this year against Al Unser, Jr., the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, two-time CART Series Champion and overall winner of the 1985 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, Johnny Benson, 2008 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and Coy Gibbs, owner of the JGRMX Supercross/Motocross Team.

The Southern California Toyota Dealer seat is being filled by Tom Rudnai, president of Longo Toyota in El Monte, Calif., an affiliate of Penske Motor Group and winner of the 2001 celebrity race. Rounding out the field is the online charity auction winner Douglas Fregin, co-founder and retired vice president of operations for Research in Motion (makers of the Blackberry), and the Boys and Girls Club charity auction winner Annamarie Dean, whose charity donations earned them a chance to challenge the celebrities and pros in this year’s race.

“With all the high-caliber Hollywood stars in the field, this year’s race is sure to be a blockbuster,” said Les Unger, Toyota’s national motorsports manager. “The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is win-win for everyone, because it gives fans a chance to see their favorite performers in action-packed real racing while offering the celebrities an opportunity to ‘give back’ to children in need.”

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. Racing for Kids is a national non-profit program benefiting children’s hospitals in Long Beach and Orange County, Calif. Toyota has donated $1.7 million on behalf of the race and it’s participants and various children hospitals since 1991.

Finally, a $15,000 donation is made in conjunction with the 12th 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 18.

SOURCE Toyota Motorsports

Source: newswire

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