Seventeen celebrity drivers from the 35th Annual Toyota Pro Celebrity Race at the Long Beach Grand Prix joined me and representatives from Toyota on Thursday afternoon at the 20th consecutive Racing For Kids hospital visit associated with the Grand Prix. This year we visited children at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach.
The hospital lobby was filled with enthusiasm as the drivers gathered and word spread through the halls that they had arrived. Teen heartthrob Kevin Jonas was among the group stirring up excitement and brightening faces as the participants broke into three units and moved from room to room.
Along with the popular Racing For Kids hats, many of the celebrity drivers brought gifts of their own for the kids, which made them beam. Several of the drivers were making repeat visits to the hospital including Bill Fichtner, Frankie Muniz, Megyn Price and Brian Austin Green, of Beverly Hills 90210 and Desperate Housewives fame. Toyota dealer Mike Sullivan also attended.
Friday was the first on-track practice as the celebrities began qualifying for the race. Bill Fichtner was the odds-on favorite to win the pole position, but was overtaken by True Blood star, Stephen Moyer. In spite of sliding into the trackside tire barrier with his car doing a 360-degree roll before landing back on its tires, Moyer managed to win the pole and the People’s Choice Poll Award of $15,000. Moyer designated Racing For Kids as the charity to receive the award.
The race was exciting Saturday with William Fichtner prevailing as the overall winner. I am sure the youngsters he visited with Thursday were very happy for him.