Tagliani Takes to the Track in Long Beach---Gives Hollywood a Feel of IndyCar Speed
INDIANAPOLIS (April 7, 2010) - FAZZT Race Team driver Alex Tagliani joined the Pro/Celebrity Race drivers yesterday in Long Beach, California for Press Day and to take a tour around the 1.97 mile Grand Prix circuit. The Press Day is held in preparation for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (April 16-18) and includes a number of the celebrities and professional drivers who will be competing in the 34th Annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity event.
Alex thoroughly enjoyed himself and had the following to report at the day's conclusion: "First of all, it was just a great day! The event was very well organized so I have to take my hat off to Jim Michaelian, he and his team did a super job. It was great to meet the celebrities and see them drive on the track. Even if they aren't professional race car drivers they are taking this very seriously. Keanu Reeves won last year so he got moved from Celebrity to the Pro ranks so he will be racing guys like Jimmy Vasser and Steve Millen and a bunch of guys who are well known in the world of racing and they know their way around that track. It is very cool to see these actors and celebrities who are now in your world of racing and they take it very seriously and it is great to see them wanting to learn the racing world. They get out of the car and ask you about the curbs, and certain turns.
"Racing is a very mysterious sport because the average person just can't go buy a car and go race so when you create these type of events and people can touch it is huge and well received. I think that is why the IndyCar 2-seater experience is so popular because like the Pro/Celebrity Race it gives people the chance to actually feel what it is like in an IndyCar and it makes our sport "touchable" for fans. I love the comments these guys make when they get out of the car.
"When you take a person who doesn't normally race cars and they get in the car and give their explanation, their vision well, they can make it relate to our fans and that is why it is so fantastic. It is very interesting for me as a driver to hear their comments because for me, I am more comfortable in a racecar than most anywhere, so it is like me playing the scene in the hockey musical Score. It was a world I didn't know, you think it would be easy to act, do my three lines and done. But it's not. There is the lighting, the marks, the director prompts and tons of other stuff. It is not as natural as I thought. Jason Priestley, our partner in FAZZT, has driven racecars and has lived the world of racing and lives the world of acting and directing. So when you step into his shoes in a movie, you have a whole new respect for what he does every day. What I did was a very small percentage of the industry but when you take two guys and swap roles we can now talk about what we know and what we learned."
Alex and actors
"Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsey was at Press Day and he is very involved in racing with the Grand Am Series and SCCA Pro World Challenge and will be racing at Long Beach in a Mazda 3. The other guys, their intensity is incredible---especially Zachary Levi and Keanu Reeves. They want to win. They were strapped in the car and impatient, ready to race. I took a moment to get a picture made with Keanu Reeves and I could see myself ready to qualify. Zachary is a big motor freak, he has bikes, loves driving and anything with a motor is cool for him and I was giving him tips about not cooking the brakes and other things. It wasn't just an appearance for these guys, they are there to race and race hard and whoever wins has a portion of the prize money go to the charity of their choice. All in all, the way it is set-up is great---it allows everyone to have a great time and give money to charity as well. I can see why the Pro/Celebrity Race has been so popular throughout the years because racing appeals to a lot of people and the celebrities love driving the race cars so it is a great show for everyone."