|Sean Astin, Lil' Kim and Frankie Muniz among Stars to Vie for Victory Lane|
Today's hottest stars from film, television, music and sports will attempt to outpace and out-maneuver each other to the checkered flag in the 28th annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.
Part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend, this world-renowned, ten-lap charity race will be held on the 1.97-mile downtown Long Beach street circuit on Saturday, April 17, in Long Beach.
The expected field of seventeen includes the following eclectic group of entertainment personalities, internationally known celebrities and figures from sports and media:
-- Sean Astin - 'Samwise Gamgee' in the Oscar-winning film "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"
-- Lil' Kim - Rap/Hip Hop Recording Artist
-- Frankie Muniz - "Agent Cody Banks" films; FOX's "Malcolm in the Middle"
-- Andrew Firestone - ABC's "The Bachelor"
-- Laila Ali - Female Super Middleweight Boxing Champion
-- Carlos Bernard - 'Tony Almeida' on FOX's "24"
-- Andrea Parker - 'Lydia Weston' on ABC's "Less Than Perfect"
-- Chris McDonald - 'Ted Shackleton' on the new FOX series "Cracking Up"
-- Melissa Joan Hart - ABC's "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch"
-- Liza Snyder - 'Christine Hughes' on CBS' "Yes, Dear"
-- Tony Potts - "Access Hollywood" Correspondent
Returning this year is the 2003 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race champion, Peter Reckell ('Bo Brady' on NBC's daytime soap "Days of Our Lives"). As the 2003 winner, Reckell will now compete with three other drivers in the "Pro" category.
In addition to Reckell, the professional drivers competing for the checkered flag are:
-- Dara Torres - Olympic Gold Medal-winning swimmer; 2002 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race Winner
-- Max Papis - Professional Open Wheel and Lexus-powered Sports Car Driver
-- Mike Follmer - 2002 International Jet Sports Boat Association Offshore Endurance Champion
"The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is renowned for attracting celebrity and professional drivers because it offers the high-speed challenge of real racing," said Les Unger, Toyota's national motorsports manager. "With stars from film, television, music and sports, this year's race is sure to provide thrills for fans."
Also racing in this year's event are Cliff Cummings, owner of Toyota of San Bernardino; and Jill Pasant, who earned a spot by making the high bid of $60,000 for the 2004 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race seat at last year's Toyota Grand Prix Charity Ball auction.
As part of the event, Toyota will help raise more than $100,000 for "Racing for Kids," a non-profit program benefiting Southern California children's hospitals in Long Beach and Orange County. Toyota will donate $5,000 in the name of each participant, and another $5,000 to the race winner's charity of choice.
Finally, a $15,000 donation is made in conjunction with the seventh 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 16. In the past 13 years, the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race has generated more than $1 million for charity.