Jeremy McGrath proved once again that he is able to adapt toalmost any form of racing. The seven-time AMA Supercross Champion won the Proclass during a 10-lap charity event during the 27th Annual Toyota Grand Prix ofLong Beach on April 12. McGrath and the other pro drivers, including ShawnaRobinson (NASCAR Busch Series), Milka Duno (American Le Mans Series), andLeilani Munter (NASCAR Touring Series), started 30 seconds behind a pack ofcelebrities. McGrath managed to rip off the fastest lap time of the race, a1:47.6, almost a full second faster than any other competitor. After startingin the 14th spot, McGrath finished an impressive fourth overall behind PeterReckell (‘Bo Brady" on NBC’s daytime soap "Days of Our Lives,"Jesse James (owner of West Coast Choppers and host of Discovery Channel’s"Monster Garage," and Adam Carolla (co-host of Comedy Central’s"The Man Show").
"It’s been a long time since I won anything, and I couldn’tbe more excited," said McGrath. "We spent three days out at Willow Springslearning to drive these cars, and all that work paid off. We hit about 145 mphon the straightaway and I’m surprised at how well these Celica’s work. They’vegot good suspension, roll cages, and some motor work, and they’re all prettyeven. To be honest I didn’t think my car was one of the faster ones afterqualifying. Josh Brolin qualified a full second faster than me, and I couldtell that some of the cars would come off the corner faster than me. It’s kindof like going to a go-cart track knowing that you might or might not get a goodcar. I made some pretty good passes out there but never tried to be tooaggressive."
The same can’t be said for Jesse James who ran it under PeterRecker on the last lap. "I took my foot off the brake and my hands off
As part of the race event, Toyota heled raise more than $100,000for "Racing for Kids," a non-profit program benefitting SouthernCalifornia children’s hospitals in Long Beach and Orange County, California.
Other drivers in this year’s event included Angie Everhart (actressand model), Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11 astronaut and the second man to walk on themoon), Picabo Street (Olympic Alpine Skiing Champion), Josh Brolin (Senator’Bill Sterling’ on NBC’s "Mr. Sterling), and Steve Hartman (KCBS-TV).
McGrath was also center of attention before the race whensomething unexpected happened. "I went over to Tony Potts’ ("AccessHollywood" correspondent) room at night. Before I knew it, we werewrestling with Tommy Steiner. Something happened and we ended up breakingTony’s shoulder. It put him out of the race, but the people from Toyota saidthey will let him race next year.