Celebrity Team Challenge Set for Detroit

DETROIT (June 6, 2001) -- Two-dozen Hollywood stars and distinguished citizens of Detroit will race in the Celebrity Team Challenge to raise funds for the Police Athletic League (PAL) to support inner-city children. The event is part of The ...

DETROIT (June 6, 2001) -- Two-dozen Hollywood stars and distinguished citizens of Detroit will race in the Celebrity Team Challenge to raise funds for the Police Athletic League (PAL) to support inner-city children. The event is part of The Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit, June 15-17 at The Raceway on Belle Isle.

PAL serves kids ages six to 18 with quality, structured programs that rely on educational, recreational and athletic activities to create a bond between police officers and the youth of Detroit. Community based programs like the Celebrity Team Challenge help provide a stable environment for these children to become productive contributing members of society. "If it weren't for the Celebrity Team Challenge, we wouldn't be able to fund many of our programs," said Sgt. Allison Walker, executive director and commanding officer of the Northwest Activity Center in Detroit. "The money raised from this one race will help support 15 athletic programs, seven tutorial sites and two multi-service centers for more than 10,000 children."

The Celebrity Team Challenge features 24 drivers, including celebrities such as Tim Allen ("Home Improvement"), Sean Patrick Flanery ("Powder"), Ashley Judd ("Where The Heart Is") and Alfonso Ribeiro ("Fresh Prince of Bel Air"). In addition, corporate executives, civic leaders and members of the local media will take to the track.

The participants will race identically prepared Dodge Neons in a 30-minute heat race before the start of The Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit. The Celebrity Team Challenge drivers will race on the same 2.346-mile temporary road course that the CART drivers will tackle.

"I can relate to these kids because I lived in Northwest Bronx, N.Y. until I was 10- years-old," Ribeiro said. "I look forward to visiting with them, and this race will help raise money for PAL."

More than a fan of the sport, Ribeiro has been racing nearly eight years and has collected approximately 15 wins in various types of racing, including the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Calif., a race he won in 1994 and '95. Douglas Peterson, a local businessman and last year's event winner, races a Formula Mazda as a hobby and plans to drive his nephew's Dodge Neon around town for a few days to get accustomed to the type of car he will run in the Celebrity Team Challenge.

"I love automobile road racing and charity work," said Peterson, president of 3 Dimensional Services in Rochester Hills, Mich. "I've been involved in this fund-raising event since 1999 and we've (sponsors) all kicked in a little more money this year to keep PAL's program going strong." Thanks to sponsors such as Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Skip Barber Racing School and Reliable, more than $1 million has been raised for PAL since 1997. Other annual fundraisers that support PAL are the North American Auto Show and J.P. McCarthy Golf Tournament.

--SFX/CG

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Series Charity
Drivers Douglas Peterson , Skip Barber