Rutledge Wood took home the checkered flag at this year's Toyota Pro/Celebrity race at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Top Gear USA presenter, Fox Sports commentator and Honda Wagovan owner managed to take pole position in qualifying, but lost his lead early in the race to Mark Steines. Steines has competed in the Pro/Celebrity race four times so far, but the Hallmark channel host of Home and Family couldn't quite hold on to the lead. Wood eventually made up the ground he had lost for the win. This year, all the participants went fender to fender in identically prepared Scion FR-S racers.

Meanwhile, Adam Carolla took first in the Pro category, and Toyota donated $5,000 on behalf of each participant to Racing for Kids. The charity benefits children's hospitals in the Long Beach area, and this year Toyota donated a total of $90,000. Check out the full press release below for more information.
Show full PR text
Rutledge Wood Wins Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race!

Last Year's Victor Adam Carolla Triumphs in the Professional Category

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 20, 2013) - History Channel series "Top Gear USA" and Fox Sports/SPEED racing commentator Rutledge Wood won the 2013 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, triumphing over a field of film, television, music and sports stars in the annual charity racing event. The roaring crowd witnessed the stunning performance by Wood who started the race from the pole position in his Scion FR-S race car. Last year's race winner and comedian Adam Carolla finished first in the Pro category.

Wood, who took the top starting spot for the race in Saturday's qualifying, gave up the lead early on to Hallmark channel host of "Home & Family" Mark Steines before the four-time participant finished fifth in the 10-lap event. MTV's "Awkward" star Brett Davern made a late run for the trophy as he closed in on the lead but ran out of track time before the checkered flag waved.

"I decided this year that I should drive like I knew how instead of being nervous that I was going to wreck," said Wood. "I can't believe it. I feel great. A huge thanks to Adam Carolla, too. Adam helped me so much last year, and he helped me a lot this year, too. Some of those people were so fast that I have no idea how I stayed in front of them. The FR-S is awesome."

"The pace of this race was extremely fast and competitive," said Les Unger, national motorsports manager with Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. "There was some exciting action in the field that had the fans out of their seats. Congratulations to Rutledge Wood and Adam Carolla for their victories. A special thanks to all this year's participants. All their enthusiasm is, ultimately, for a great cause, and the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is proud to be able to make it happen."

Carolla spent the duration of the race battling to overcome the Pros' 24-second handicap, quickly weaving through the field. The host of the acclaimed comedy podcast "Adam Carolla Show" and co-creator of "The Man Show" Carolla was happy to stand on the victory stage alongside Wood and said, "I started amongst the Pros -- last overall. Those guys are great drivers and I'm sure if we did this 10 more times, someone else would win it at least nine-and-a-half of them."

Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer got loose and spun out, but regained control of his Scion FR-S race car to finish fourth. Mexican actress Kate del Castillo was the top female finisher with a 10th-place showing.

Toyota will donate $5,000 to Racing for Kids in the name of each participant, for a total of $90,000, and an additional $5,000 to Victory Junction on behalf of Wood. Racing for Kids is a national nonprofit program benefiting children's hospitals in Long Beach and Orange County, Calif. Toyota has donated more than $2 million on behalf of the race and its participants to various children's hospitals since 1991.

Additionally, a $15,000 donation was made in conjunction with the annual People Pole Award. Sponsored by People magazine, the award was given to Wood's charity of choice, Victory Junction.

The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is scheduled to be broadcast on SPEED Channel on Saturday, May 4, and will be re-air numerous times. (See local listings or for details.)

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

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      Cory Stansbury
      • 2 Years Ago
      Holy crap Adam Carolla. I knew he was very good for a non-pro driver/club racer and have been listening to carcast for years. However, to pull out a 1st in the pro category is amazing.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Get it on!
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm not sure about the other cars, but Rutledge and Adam's cars were manuals. Also, not mentioned was Wanda Sykes who was dead last and something like over 20 seconds behind group. She eventually became a moving obstacle that the leaders had to overlap. To give that some context, the race was only 10 laps on a track that's just shy of 2 miles long.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I hate articles like this that talk about the race but don't bother to show you a list of the actual results. Isn't that why people read them?
      Luke Colorado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Get. It. On!!!
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wagovan! Also, I like Rutledge in general. Top Gear USA is actually starting to work, the guys interact well and the producers "get it" now. Even Adam Ferrara mostly works now. It's too bad the show cannot figure out how to branch out beyond these staged "journeys" but I guess I can keep hoping. I can't understand how any real car guy can hate on Rutledge. He's an actual car guy. He likes interesting cars, not just expensive ones. And he actually knows a ton about how they work. When his beaters break down on the show, he diagnoses them and he fixes them (if possible), they don't just cut away while a producer takes over. Back to the Wagovan. I miss the days when in the US you had a choice between two Toyota All-Tracs (three if you count the non-wagon) and the Civic Wagovan. All we have left now is the Matrix and it appears that's on its last legs.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Yeah, the only guy helpless when something breaks on the show is Adam. Both Tanner and Rut can seem to fix anything they purchase.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Like the guy, but Top Gear US needs help really bad! It is much better now than the first season, but still far from being even close to amazing original. I think US version lucks writing quality and 3 luck comic ability...
      • 2 Years Ago
        • 2 Years Ago
        Uhm , no, they were racing in different categories. Adam won the Celeb category last year, and thus races in the Pro category this year, which he won.
        Cory Stansbury
        • 2 Years Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      That means if I was a celebrity I would have lapped everyone at least once.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Rut is a bona fide auto enthusiast, and apparently a relatively good casual race driver, too. Way to go!
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why is it most the female drivers have a co driver?
      • 2 Years Ago
      People are always criticizing Rutledge (particularly on that other site that ends with nik), but I think the guy is pretty legit, and this race win is just another reason why he is. Top Gear America isn't perfect, but I don't think Rutledge is a bad host or somehow an illegitimate car guy. Also, how interesting that Jenna Elfman was in the Celeb category too. Random that I noticed, but she's always been a crush of mine, something about her quirky but intelligent nature and tall, blonde good looks gets me going...
        • 2 Years Ago
        Actually, with all the times that Rut posts on Jalopnik, I think most of us appreciate him coming to comment all the time. At least I know I do. I have a man crush on him.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X