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Hugh Hefner named Grand Marshal of Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Legendary Playboy founder Hugh Hefner will be surrounded by a bevy of female stars of film, television and sports when he assumes the role of Grand Marshal of this year’s Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race on Saturday, April 14, as part of the 33rd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

It couldn’t be a better time for the venerable ladies’ man to lead the parade, since, for the first time ever, women make up almost half the field of 18 in this historic, 10-lap race for charity through a 1.97-mile street circuit through the downtown streets of Long Beach in Southern California.  The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, one of six featured events during race weekend, gives fans a chance to see their favorite stars duke it out on the track during exciting action-packed competition.

Among the celebrity drivers is model and TV personality Kendra Wilkinson, best known as one of Hef’s three live-in girlfriends in the E! reality TV series The Girls Next Door.  Fans can log onto Hollywagers.com to see how professional race handicappers think Kendra and her fellow the celebrity drivers – including Cold Case’s Kathryn Morris, Howard Stern’s sidekick Robin Quivers, CSI: Miami’s Emily Procter, tennis great Martina Navratilova, NBA legend John Salley and Star Wars’ creator George Lucas, among others – stack up.  [The odds have been presented solely for entertainment purposes exclusively by Hollywagers.com, powered by Pregame.com, the country’s largest bet-centric information site.  There will be no actual wagering on the outcome of the race.]

Hefner, who celebrates his 81st birthday on April 9, is a man who has profoundly influenced society in the last 50 years, during which Playboy has been the world's best-selling men's lifestyle magazine.  Although born in Chicago, Hefner decided in 1975 to make Southern California his permanent home, reflecting the extent to which Hollywood movies had influenced his dreams and aspirations as a boy.  Ever since, Hefner has tirelessly dedicated himself to a myriad of creative and philanthropic endeavors in his adopted community.  In 1980, Hefner championed the reconstruction of the Hollywood sign – then in serious disrepair – and was honored by a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his efforts.  In saving the sign, Hefner referred to it as "Hollywood's Eiffel Tower."  The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored him further with its first Annual Hollywood Hall of Fame Award as Outstanding Citizen of the Year.
“Hugh Hefner is a true California icon – and a racing fan – and we are pleased to have him as Grand Marshal of the 31st Annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race,” said Les Unger, Toyota’s national motorsports manager.  “Fans are going to be thrilled to hear him shout, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Scion Engines!’ and see him wave the green flag.”

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