Dempsey named Sebring Grand Marshal

GREY'S ANATOMY STAR PATRICK DEMPSEY TO SERVE AS GRAND MARSHAL OF MOBIL 1 TWELVE HOURS OF SEBRING Sebring, Fla. - Heartthrob actor Patrick Dempsey, star of ABC's top-rated television show Grey's Anatomy, will serve as Grand Marshal of the ...

GREY'S ANATOMY STAR PATRICK DEMPSEY TO SERVE AS GRAND MARSHAL OF MOBIL 1 TWELVE HOURS OF SEBRING

Sebring, Fla. - Heartthrob actor Patrick Dempsey, star of ABC's top-rated television show Grey's Anatomy, will serve as Grand Marshal of the 54th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 18 in Sebring, FL.

"It is a tremendous honor to be the Grand Marshal at Sebring," acknowledged Dempsey, who's been labeled TV's biggest new star thanks to his portrayal of Dr. Derek Shepherd - a role in which he was nominated for best actor in a drama at this year's Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards. "I feel like I'm a kid in the candy store, and I am going to enjoy every minute of it."

Away from his role as a Hollywood sex symbol, Dempsey is a car enthusiast and an avid racer. When he isn't behind the wheel of his 1959 356 Porsche (the same make and model that James Dean drove), his auto interests take him to the track. At Sebring he will not only serve as Grand Marshal for America's oldest and most prestigious sports car race, but the day before (March 17) he will take a run at the checkered flag when he competes in the Panoz GT Series race at Sebring International Raceway.

"Maybe I need to win the Panoz race Friday so I'll know my way to Winner's Circle for the 12 Hours," said Dempsey, a Panoz Racing School graduate who has been racing in the Panoz GT Series since 2004. "That would be sweet!"

Last year was Dempsey's most successful season to date on the racing circuit as he competed in the Baja 1000 with drivers Boris Said and Oriol Servia and had an impressive third-place finish in the Panoz GT race at Road Atlanta.

"I enjoy the camaraderie among the racers and the passion of the fans," admitted Dempsey, who last month received a 1969 Mercedes as a 40th birthday gift from wife Jillian. "I have always been a race fan and to have the opportunities I have today is very rewarding."

Cosmopolitan's "Fun Fearless Male of the Year" and People Magazine's runner-up for the "Sexiest Man of the Year" title will not be the first Hollywood star to race down the Ulmann Straight at Sebring. Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Craig T. Nelson, James Brolin, Steve McQueen, David Carradine, Lorenzo Lamas and Dick Smothers are among those who have previously driven the famous Sebring race circuit.

Aside from his current runaway hit TV show, Dempsey's acting credits feature his role opposite Reese Witherspoon in the movie Sweet Home Alabama. In 2001 he garnered an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Aaron Brooks in the critically acclaimed Once & Again. Dempsey's future film endeavors include Freedom Writers with Hilary Swank and the Disney musical Enchanted with Susan Sarandon.

The American Le Mans Series begins its 2006 season with the 54th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The 12-hour endurance classic is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EST on March 18 at Sebring International Raceway. It will be televised live on SPEED Channel in North America and MotorsTV in Europe. In addition, Greenlight-Television will distribute the race worldwide to more than 510 million households. American Le Mans Series Radio will have flag-to-flag coverage available at www.americanlemans.com, along with IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Boris Said , Paul Newman , Dick Smothers , Patrick Dempsey