CART Veteran Scott Pruett Wins the 25th Anniversary Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 7, 2001) - Ten-year CART racing veteran Scott Pruett took the overall checkered flag at the 25th annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race from a...
CART Veteran Scott Pruett Wins the 25th Anniversary Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 7, 2001) - Ten-year CART racing veteran Scott Pruett took the overall checkered flag at the 25th annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race from a field of celebrity and professional drivers - just edging out last year's winner Josh Brolin. Toyota dealer Tom Rudnai barely won the celebrity category over Olympic Gold medalist swimmer Dara Torres - the best-ever female finisher in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race and the pole position winner.
"This was one of the most exciting and memorable races in our 25-year history," said Les Unger national motorsports manager with Toyota Motor Sales. "We not only had our first-ever female pole position winner, but the fans saw the closest race ever with the most competitive and fierce fields ever. Josh Brolin making a incredibly strong showing for the second year in a row."
Pruett stole the show from the celebrity drivers, tapping into his vast experience as a racing professional. Pruett, a relative unknown before receiving his first big break in racing with a second place showing in the 1984 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, has successfully risen to the top of the open-wheel ranks with more than 145 career starts. In 2000, he parked his open-wheel driving career to try his hand at stock racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
Brolin was one of two celebrity drivers that were barely inched out by Pruett - proving once again that celebrities are fierce competitors in the field of racing. An accomplished stage performer and actor, the 2000 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race winner Brolin follows in his father's winning footsteps as an outstanding driver and avid racing enthusiast. James Brolin was the winner of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in 1978.
Torres, in a best-ever showing by a female driver, led the race for the first nine laps before being overpowered by Pruett in the last lap - finishing less than a half-second behind the winner. An Olympic swimming gold medalist with five medals and four Olympic games to her name, Torres is too familiar with competitive spirit. As a result of skill, fierce drive and determination, she is the highest finishing female racer in the celebrity category throughout the history of the race. <pre> The final standings for the field are: Overall Winner: Scott Pruett - 18:36.569 minutes
1. Tom Rudnai - 18:39.201 2. Dara Torres - 18:39.780 3. Christopher McDonald - 18:53.003 4. Dave Pasant - 19:01.680 5. Mark Consuelos - 19:23.800 6. William Shatner - 19:42.465 7. Erik Palladino - 19:43.709 8. Jim Kelly - 19:44.389 9. Elisa Donovan - 20:35.318 10. David Alan Grier - 17:42.935/9 laps 11. Piper Perabo - 19:28.872/9 laps 12. Billy Blanks - Did not finish 13. Mark Steines - Did not finish
1. Scott Pruett - 18:36.569 2. Josh Brolin - 18:37.642 3. Robert Huffman - 18:50.206 4. Sara Senske - 19:47.820 </pre> As part of the event, Toyota raised over $115,000 for "Racing for Kids," a national fund-raising program to benefit children's hospitals in Long Beach, Los Angeles and Orange counties through its involvement with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The 10-lap race, held on the 1.99-mile Champ Car track, features a field of 17 drivers and will be broadcast in its entirety on ESPN, Saturday, April 28 at 3 p.m. ET.