• Apr 19, 2010
2010 Long Beach Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race – Click above for high-res image gallery

The annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach just wouldn't be the same without the rough-and-tumble slugfest known as the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. Even though the actors, singers, pro athletes and television personalities who compete could probably care less, they have actually been driving safety-modded Scion tC street cars (StopTech brakes, window netting and roll cages) instead of Toyotas ever since the Celica went the way of analog television. No matter, Toyota is still the title sponsor of the whole shebang, even though there are no Toyotas in any of the racing classes tearing up the nearly two-mile street course in downtown Long Beach. Renaming it the "Scion Grand Prix..." just doesn't have the same ring to it anyhow.

Follow the jump
to see the full list of entrants and the race recap, and don't forget to click below to see the rest of the pics.



Photos by Frank Filipponio and Andre Ravinowich/Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

The field of celebs in this year's event ran the gamut from TV icons to movie leads to radio hosts to household neverheardofems. The players included Academy Award winner Adrien Brody, 90210 alum Brian Austin Green, sometime Autoblog columnist Adam Carolla, "True Romance" star Christian Slater, singer Jesse McCartney (#11, below), TV-Saab-mechanic and Tick personifier Patrick Warburton, One Life to Live starlet Tika Sumpter, Rules of Engagement star Megyn Price (#3, below), skateboarding guru Tony Hawk and Zach Levi, the guy who plays Chuck on, uh, Chuck.



Vying for the win in the "Pro" category were automatically-bumped-in-class returning Celebrity champion Keanu Reeves (#24 above), CART/Champ legend Jimmy Vasser, everybody's favorite Kiwi Nissan tuner/racer Steve Millen, NHRA racer Marty Nothstein (#21, above), BMX vert rider extraordinaire Jamie Bestwick and Autoblog friend/TV personality/drift champ Tanner Foust. Oh, Southern California Toyota Dealer Chris Ashworth and charity auction winners Jerry Westlund and Dave Pasant were also strapped into a Scion of their own for the 10-lap event.



Qualifying had seen a fair bit of fender banging and tire-wall-testing, but in the end it was Zachary Levi (Car #6 below) on the pole, followed closely by early favorite Brian Austin Green (Car #7) and Adrien Brody in the front pack. The Pros get to start 30 seconds behind the Celebs, with Jimmy Vasser (Car #25) qualifying first overall just ahead of Foust (Car #23), Millen and Nothstein.



Within seconds of the green flag being waved, you could tell it was going to be a great race, as Corolla timed the start perfectly and started building momentum, quickly jumping ahead of Green and Brody and into second. Corolla and Green battled hard early on, but eventually Green moved into the lead, followed by Brody and pole-winner Levi. The racing was intense, if a bit sloppy. Every time the cars rounded the hairpin, you'd swear there was going to be a pileup, with cars being shoved aside like toys on every lap. It looked like the best arcade driving games, where you can bank off a competitor to keep your cornering speed up. The Pros quickly closed the gap on the Celebrities, making traffic even heavier all the way around the circuit.



We can't imagine how Jesse McCartney's voice changed when he went head-on into the tires at Turn 1, but we're guessing it didn't help matters when Chris Ashworth T-boned him as he rounded the semi-blind corner. We don't know if Toyota has a service bulletin on it or not, but it was rather alarming to see Ashworth's tC burst into flames moments after he was extricated from the car.



Up at the sharp end of the field, Tanner Foust pulled a great bump-draft maneuver on leader Jimmy Vasser, the twist here being that Brian Austin Green was the buffer between them. Foust came into the Aquarium Fountain complex rather hot and booted Green ahead and into Vasser's backside, causing Jimmy to get a little squirrely. Vasser reined it in though and never gave back the lead. The tap did allow Tanner to slip past Mr. Fox for second overall, though. BAG held on to claim top celeb honors, meaning he'll have to give up his 30-second head start next year should he demand a rematch. Brody and Levi were just a fraction of a second behind Green, separated by pro-class driver Nothstein, who finished alongside Green at the checkers.



It was a hard-fought win for both gentlemen, and another fun afternoon of adult bumper cars in this 34th running of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in Long Beach. You can catch the whole race for yourself when SPEED airs it on May 1.

FINAL RACE RESULTS

Pos Class Name Laps Time
1 Pro Jimmy Vasser 13 27:31.586
2 Pro Tanner Foust 13 27:32.231
3 Celebrity Brian Austin Green 13 27:34.563
4 Pro Marty Nothstein 13 27:34.563
5 Celebrity Adrien Brody 13 27:37.746
6 Celebrity Zachary Levi 13 27:37.979
7 Pro Steve Millen 13 27:38.617
8 Celebrity Patrick Warburton 13 27:44.142
9 Celebrity Adam Carolla 13 27:44.225
10 Charity Auction Winner Dave Pasant 13 27:44.956
11 Pro Keanu Reeves 13 27:45.651
12 Celebrity Christian Slater 13 27:46.127
13 Charity Auction Winner Jerry Westlund 13 27:56.299
14 Celebrity Tika Sumpter 13 27:57.783
15 Celebrity Megyn Price 13 27:58.242
16 Celebrity Jesse McCartney 6 11:10.570
17 North Hollywood Toyota Vice President Chris Ashworth 6 11:24.403
18 Celebrity Tony Hawk 6 11:24.432
19 Pro Jamie Bestwick 2 4:07.377




Photos by Frank Filipponio and Andre Ravinowich/Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Too bad for all the Carolla fanboys here.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "We can't imagine how Jesse McCartney's voice changed when he went head-on into the tires at Turn 1, but we're guessing it didn't help matters when Chris Ashworth T-boned him as he rounded the semi-blind corner."

      best autoblog line in a while.
      • 4 Years Ago
      tC = Toyota Celica

      Same car underneath.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If you mean that literally, you couldn't be more wrong The tC shares almost no underpinnings with the Celica other than some basic component parts. The tC is based on the chassis of the Avensis, a Europe only Toyota sedan - and it's engine is from the Camry.

        Figuritivly, it does occupy the same basic place in the market as the Celica did, but it is far from being "the same car underneath"
        • 4 Years Ago
        I have to second that... it isn't even close to the same car. Actually, I doubt it shares any component of any kind, the Celica was designed in a different generation before Toyota went all soft and luxury on us.

        We had a Celica GT, bought it brand new and 7 yrs later it was in flawless condition... it was my wife's pride and joy... right up til my daughter wrecked it. The damage didn't look too bad but it was totaled, but I got $12k for it. We took that money to the Toyota dealer to try out the Tc, and I couldn't have been more disappointed. Aside from not looking nearly as sleek or aggressive, it drove like a total turd. Soft, squishy suspension, steering like an old school Buick, lazy engine, just a boring car that tried too hard to look "cool". But you can get customized laser interior lighting, and a thumpin stereo option!! The Celica was a blast to drive, had a gorgeous interior, tight handling, good brakes, an engine that loved to rev, and got mid-30s mileage around town. And I loved the looks... kind of a mini-350Z, was aggressive but very practical too. And it wasn't even a GT-S!

        I spent the next several weeks looking for another Celica, and could find nothing remotely nice. I found 2 Celicas available with under 50k miles, and both were sold before I could get to the them. Every one I found had 100k+ miles and had been beaten, banged up, or "customized" by some dumb teenager. I even found myself wishing I had kept my wrecked one and had it fixed... even with a salvage title it would have been nicer than the ones for sale. Finally, I discovered the MR2 Spyder. Obviously less practical than the Celica, but even more fun to drive, almost as good gas mileage, and wow... what a bargain. Low demand equals low resale value. Almost every one I found had been adult owned, garage kept, well cared for, extremely low mileage and less expensive than used Celicas. I picked up a very nice one for about $7k and used the remaining money to buy my daughter a car of her own (which she hasnt wrecked!).
      • 4 Years Ago
      After the jump link is wrong...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I believe the tCs also have superchargers.
        • 4 Years Ago
        As much as I like the idea of performance parts from the dealer (and I do, very much), a 215 horse $27K+ tC makes me feel kind of ill. I don't mean Beastie Boys ill, just regular, old fashioned, Del Taco kind of ill.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah they're actually fairly significantly upgraded over a stock TC.

        They have the TRD supercharger as well as stainless exhaust and headers. Then they run them on 100 octane, so they make around 215HP. Beyond that they have a racing clutch, limited slip diff, racing suspension and brakes.

        So they're not just safety modded - but a lot of the upgrades are TRD parts that the average Joe can get through a Scion/Toyota dealer - though they'd easily add $10K to the price of the little coupe.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm usually ok with so-called Americanisms - you want to pronounce 'route' 'rowt', fine; put the emphasis on the wrong part of the word 'address'.... also fine.

      But the expression is 'I probably couldn't care less' or 'he probably couldn't care less' - not 'probably could care less'.

      Do you see why that doesn't make any sense? The expression is used to convey the idea that a person is at the very lower limit of caring about something. Hence, couldn't care less, as in 'it would be impossible for me to care less about this'. Saying 'could care less' is meaningless.

      I blame Beyonce.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Adam... you disappoint me.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So does that mean that Keanu Reeves actually was about 15 seconds faster that the winning celeb when you factor in the 30 sec he had to give up at the start? If so, that is pretty impressive. Didn't know he was into racing.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Tourian,

        As last year's celebrity winner, Keanu was required to run in the Pro class. If Adam Carolla won this year, he'd be Pro next year if he wanted to race again.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Keanu is listed as a "Pro" in that list and Carolla as a "Celebrity"?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Atleast Toyota gives them cars that can stop.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wish AB in ALL of the racing wrap ups would give the actual podium finishes
      1. Green, 2. Brody, 3. Carrolla.

      TG: How hard can that be?
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Toyota is still the title sponsor of the whole shebang, even though there are no Toyotas in any of the racing classes"

      Tyler McQuarrie's World Challenge Lotus has a Toyota engine in it, that count?
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