In the movies and on TV, it seems actors always perform stunts and impossible feats with expertise and ease. But at the Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond this weekend, the actors were mere mortals.
The 12 celebrities slated to participate in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race on April 20, part of the 39th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, took to the track for four days of race training.
Comedian Wanda Sykes admitted she is “just trying to stay alive.” Others who have participated in the charity competition took the intense training in stride, such as Jesse Metcalfe, star of the television show Dallas, who said he felt “a need for speed.”
Stars including Sykes and Metcalfe, and Olympic Gold Medalist and Long Beach native Jessica Hardy, made the early-morning trek out to the western-most valley of the Mojave Desert to get a crash course in basic racing from Fast Lane Racing School pro instructor Danny McKeever.
Other celebrities participating include Mexico’s most acclaimed actress Kate del Castillo (“La Reina del Sur,” “Under the Same Moon,” “Trade” and “Weeds”); Brett Davern (“Awkward”), Jenna Elfman (“Dharma & Greg” and “1600 Penn”); Jackson Rathbone (“Twilight”); Michelle Rodriguez (“Avatar”); Jeremy Sisto (“Six Feet Under”); Michael Trucco (“Castle” and “How I Met Your Mother”); Dakota Meyer, a former U.S. Marine and Medal of Honor recipient for his 2009 actions in Afghanistan; Grammy award-nominated and best-selling Mexican pop singer Cristian Castro; Mark Steins, Emmy award-winning journalist and host of Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family;” and Rutledge Wood, auto racing analyst on Fox Sports/SPEED.