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Celebrity drivers named for Toyota Grand Prix charity race

March 14, 2013|By Christie D'Zurilla
  • Adam Carolla before last year's Toyota pro/celebrity race in Long Beach.
Adam Carolla before last year's Toyota pro/celebrity race in Long… (Ken Pamatat )

The 39th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach may be more than a month away, but some famous folks got the green flag Thursday when they were announced as drivers for "Revved Up to Race," the 37th annual pro/celebrity race that serves as a warm-up for the main event.

Jackson Rathbone of "Twilight," Jesse Metcalfe of "Dallas" and "Desperate Housewives," and funny lady Wanda Sykes are only a few of the those who'll be getting behind the wheel of identical new 210-horsepower Scion FR-S race vehicles and burning through 10 laps in downtown Long Beach on April 20.

The event not only benefits Racing for Kids, a national fundraising program supporting U.S. children's hospitals, but, according to Toyota national motorsports manager Les Unger, allows the celebs to "feel the rush behind the wheel on the famous Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach track."

One tough guy to watch on the curvy 1.97-mile course: former Marine and Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer, who served in Afghanistan and has partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for the Hiring Our Heroes program. And one tough girl: multiple world-record holder and 2012 Olympic medalist in swimming Jessica Hardy, a Long Beach native.

Others from the acting ranks who'll be starting their engines are Jenna Elfman of "Dharma & Greg" and  "1600 Penn," Michelle Rodriguez of "Lost" and the high-powered "Fast & Furious" franchise, Jeremy Sisto of "Six Feet Under" and "Suburgatory," Michael Trucco of SyFy's "Battlestar Galactica" who recently appeared on "Revenge," Brett Davern of MTV's "Awkward" and acclaimed Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, best known as the star of the long-running miniseries "La Reina del Sur."

Rounding out the celebrity lineup are Mexican pop singer and Grammy nominee Cristian Castro, "Home & Family" host Mark Steines, and "Top Gear USA" co-host Rutledge Wood, who's also an auto racing analyst for Fox Sports/Speed.

Adam Carolla, the winner of last year's race, has joined the ranks of pro drivers who'll compete against the stars for this year's title, along with Andy Bell of MTV's "Nitro Circus," National Hot Rod Assn. driver Melanie Troxel and Tyler Clary, an Olympic gold medalist in swimming.

Also participating: Glenn Faber of Keyes Toyota and two charity auction winners, Dave Pasant and Carter Lay. People magazine will make a $15,000 donation in honor of the pole-position winner, to be determined in a qualifying session on April 19.

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Follow Christie D'Zurilla on Twitter and Google+. Follow the Ministry of Gossip on Twitter @LATcelebs and on Facebook facebook.com/ministryofgossip.

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