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You will not have to be a car enthusiast, racing fan, petrol head, or even an average, ordinary sports fanatic to enjoy the celebrity specticle that will take place next weekend in downtown Long Beach. The peaceful silence of Southern California will be ripped asunder as engines are revved and a host of stars take to the track in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race at the 34th annual Toyota Grand Prix.

A field of 18 is primed and ready to vie for the checkered flag in the world’s longest-running and most successful celebrity racing event. The 10-lap race will trace a 1.97-mile street circuit, and will raise money for Racing for Kids, a program that benefits children’s hospitals in Long Beach and Orange County. Toyota has generously pledged $5,000 to the charity in the name of each celebrity driver, and another $5,000 to the race winner’s charity of choice.

The celebrity race has been held every year since 1977, and has attracted stars such as Gene Hackman, Jason Bateman, Rick Schroder, Stephen Baldwin, Donny Osmond, Sean Patrick Flanery, and Josh Brolin. This year’s celebrity drivers include:

  • Wilmer Valderrama, best known for the role of Fez in That ’70s Show and host of MTV’s Yo Momma.
  • Drew Lachey, best known as the second-season winner of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and member of the group 98 Degrees.
  • Raymond Cruz, best known for his roles in The Closer, Clear and Present Danger, The Substitute, The Rock, and Training Day.
  • Eric Dickerson, Pro Football Hall of Famer.
  • John Salley, Sportscaster.
  • Daniel Goddard from The Young And The Restless.
  • Jamie Little, ESPN/ABC pit reporter for NASCAR Nationwide.
  • Nancy Lieberman, ESPN women’s basketball analyst.
  • Brad Lewis, Executive Producer of Ratatouille, Broken Arrow, Forces of Nature, and Antz.

Race fans should also check out the Honda Performance Development auction over at www.clothesoffourback.org. There are a large selection of racing gloves, shoes, suits, and more donated by some of today’s hottest drivers, including Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe, Darren Manning, and Ed Carpenter. Proceeds will benefit Clothes Off Our Back and American Honda supported charities.

But you had better slip into a higher gear and be quick – the auction ends April 21.

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