Dempsey credits his passion for racing to the days of watching major motorsports events like the Indianapolis 500, Dayton 500 and Monte Carlo Grand Prix with his father. Surprisingly, he got his start in racing through the Skip Barber and Panoz driving schools, though no doubt his money and fame helped land him in the driver's seat of an actual race car. He attributes his draw towards the Ford Mustang to the aura generated by the works of Carroll Shelby and the Mustang's deep history. This pin-up doctor is apparently much deeper than we thought.
MCDREAMY MAKES MUSTANG MAGIC
By: Rob Musial
On the hit ABC-TV series Grey's Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey is the handsome neurosurgeon tagged "Dr. McDreamy" by fans.
They might also call him "Dr. McMustang." Besides his TV and movie career, Dempsey competes in a specially-built Mustang FR500C in the Grand Am Road Racing KONI series.
Dempsey said roaring around a racetrack at speeds up to 170 mph is more fun than the 14-hour days he puts in on the set of Grey's Anatomy.
"It's a nice departure from Hollywood," said Dempsey, who co-owns the Hyper Sport racing team with fellow drivers Joe Foster and Rick Skelton. "It's a way to challenge yourself mentally, physically and financially. The camaraderie helps, too."
The actor had nice things to say about driving his team's No. 54 Supercuts Mustang in the series' Grand Sport (GS) class.
"There's just something about the Mustang," said Dempsey. "You think of Carroll Shelby, of course, and the history of it and, to be a part of that history, is an honor. It's a fun car to drive.
"People have an emotional attachment to that car so they tend to gravitate toward the team," he said.
Dempsey grew up watching the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 and the Monte Carlo Grand Prix on TV with his father. Attracted to the sport, he attended the Skip Barber and the Panoz driving schools before his TV success.
"A lot of these people I race with knew me before the success of Grey's Anatomy, and everyone's real supportive of my involvement," he said.
During races, he alternates driving duties with Foster and Skelton. In the 12-race Koni Challenge season which just ended, Dempsey's best finish was sixth, at an April race in Miami.
The actor, whose romantic comedy "Made of Honor" is due in theaters next year, credits his wife, Jillian, for making it possible for him to race.
"I just really have a supportive wife. It does take a lot of time away from the family. We all have kids on the team, and that's one of the frustrations," said Dempsey, who is father of eight-month-old twins and a 5-year-old.
Dempsey, who also competes in a Mazda RX-8 GT in the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series, said fulfilling his boyhood dream to race cars can cut both ways.
"At first, I was like 'I'm here and I'm doing it,' and after you do it for awhile, you're like, 'I'm doing it, but I'm not the fastest,' " he said.
"I just want to get faster."