Long Beach Pro/Celebrity drivers announced

TOYOTA PRO/CELEBRITY RACE 30th ANNIVERSARY PITS CELEBRITY ALUMNI AGAINST HOT NEW TALENT FOR 2006 Patrick Dempsey, William Shatner, John Elway and Frankie Muniz Among Stars Competing For Victory Lane LONG BEACH, Calif. -- As part of the ...

TOYOTA PRO/CELEBRITY RACE 30th ANNIVERSARY PITS CELEBRITY ALUMNI AGAINST HOT NEW TALENT FOR 2006

Patrick Dempsey, William Shatner, John Elway and Frankie Muniz Among Stars Competing For Victory Lane

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- As part of the Toyota/Pro Celebrity Raceâ^a^Ùs 30th Anniversary, selected past participants will join a host of new faces from film, television, and sports on Saturday, April 8 as part of the 32nd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

For the first time ever, each driver in this historic, 10-lap race for charity will compete through a 1.97-mile street circuit in a 2005 race-ready Scion tC, the new official car of the event. The Pro/Celebrity race, one of the six featured events during race weekend, gives fans a chance to see their favorite stars duke it out on the track during an exciting action-packed competition. The expected field of 20 includes the following group of fiercely competitive entertainment personalities, internationally known celebrities, sports stars and media:

* Antonio Sabato Jr. "Bold and the Beautiful, (Dante), Calvin Klein Model, "Melrose Place"

* Bucky Lasek Professional Skateboarder, X Games Gold Medalist

* Dave Mirra Professional BMX rider, "Real World/Road Rules Challenge" (Host), 14 medals at the X Games

* Frankie Muniz "Malcolm in the Middle, "Agent Cody Banks" 1 & 2, "My Dog Skip"

* John Elway NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback -- Denver Broncos, CEO Colorado Crush

* Mark Spitz 11-Time Olympic Medalist Swimmer; Set 26 World and 35 U.S. Records

* Martina Navratilova Former World No. 1 woman tennis player, International Tennis Hall of Famer

* Patrick Dempsey "Grey's Anatomy," "Sweet Home Alabama," "Loverboy," "Can't Buy Me Love"

* Paul Caine Publisher, PEOPLE magazine

* Roger Cross "24" (Curtis), "Taken," "Peacemaker," "Chronicles of Riddick," "X Men II"

* Shannon Miller 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist in Gymnastics (Most decorated gymnast in American history)

* Thom Naito Online charity auction winner, business analyst for on-line marketing firm

* William Fichtner "Invasion," "The Longest Yard," "Crash," "Grand Theft Auto," "Pearl Harbor," "Go," "Contact," "Heat"

* William Shatner "Boston Legal," "Star Trek" (Captain Kirk), "T.J. Hooker," "Miss Congeniality" 1 & 2

* Vinnie Jones "X-Men 3," "Gone in Sixty Seconds," "Swordfish," "Snatch," former UK football (soccer) star

Elway, Shatner, Dempsey and Muniz are among the celebrity alumni back in the driver's seat this year. After competing in the 2005 race, Patrick Dempsey now dabbles in professional racing as a hobby.

"Toyota puts on a great event that's a lot of fun, very competitive and most importantly for a great charity cause. I had such a great experience last year that I jumped at the chance to be involved again."

Dempsey, who plays Dr. Derek Shepherd on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" joins six other drivers in the "Pro" category including:

Frankie Muniz (2005 Returning Champion), Todd Bodine (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Pro Driver), David Reutimann (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Pro Driver), Johnny Greaves (Pro Off-Road Truck Race Champion and Team Owner), Jeff Kincaid (Pro Off-Road Truck Race Champion and Team Owner) and Longo Toyota General Manager Tom Rudnai.

"The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race draws some of the most competitive celebrity and professional drivers because it offers the high-speed challenge of real racing, combined with a worthwhile charitable endeavor," said Les Unger, Toyota's national motorsports manager.

"Having the mix of returning stars with firsthand experience and new drivers with their enthusiasm will combine for one of the most unique races we've had to date."

Toyota will donate $5,000 to "Racing for Kids" in the name of each celebrity racer, and another $5,000 to the winning racer's charity of choice. Racing for Kids is a non-profit program benefiting children's hospitals in Long Beach, Calif. and Orange County.

Finally, a $15,000 donation is made in conjunction with the ninth annual "PEOPLE Pole Award." Sponsored by PEOPLE magazine, the award honors the pole-position winner of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race qualifying session on Friday, April 7. In the past 14 years, the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race has generated more than $1.3 million for children's hospitals in Southern California.

-www.toyota.com/motorsports

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Series Road racing
Drivers Todd Bodine , Johnny Greaves , David Reutimann , Patrick Dempsey , William Fichtner , William Shatner , Tom Rudnai , Vinnie Jones , Bucky Lasek , Dave Mirra , Antonio Sabato Jr. , Thom Naito , Roger Cross , Paul Caine , John Elway , Jeff Kincaid , Martina Navratilova , Shannon Miller , Frankie Muniz