Racing Commentator Wins Grand Prix Celebrity Race
LONG BEACH (CNS) – Pole sitter Rutledge Wood won today’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach pro/celebrity race, passing Mark Steines to regain the lead and holding off a challenge from Brett Davern.
Wood, a Fox Sports racing commentator and a co-host of the History automotive series “Top Gear USA,” completed the 10-lap race on the 1.97-mile street course surrounding the Long Beach Convention Center in 17 minutes, 52.724 seconds. Davern, a star of the MTV comedy “Awkward,” was second, 1.533 seconds behind Wood.
“I decided this year I should drive like I knew how instead of being nervous that I was going to wreck,” said Wood, who finished fifth in last year’s race. “I can’t believe it. Some of those people were so fast that I have no idea how I stayed in front of them.”
Actor Michael Trucco was third. Steines, a co-host of the Hallmark Channel talk and home information series, “Home & Family,” finished fifth, one place behind Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer.
Wood thanked radio and television personality, last year’s winner who was categorized as a professional in this year’s race, starting 24 seconds behind the 14-driver celebrity field to finish sixth, first among the professionals.
“Adam helped me so much last year and he helped me a lot this year too,” Wood said.
All the drivers drove identically prepared Scion FR-S sports cars.
Toyota will donate $5,000 to Racing for Kids, a national nonprofit program benefiting children’s hospitals in Long Beach and Orange County, in the name of each of the 18 drivers, and another $5,000 to Wood’s designated charity, Victory Junction Gang Camp, which serves children with cancer and 23 other chronic medical conditions and serious illnesses.