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Vasser aims for win in Toyota Pro Celebrity race
Jimmy Vasser
Between IZOD IndyCar Series practice and qualifications April 17 for the 36th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, KV Racing Technology crew members will attempt to catch of few minutes of Jimmy Vasser on the 1.9-mile temporary street circuit.

The team co-owner will compete in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. He's among the pros (the pro actually) entered.

"It's great fun to be out there racing, throwing cars around on the track," said Vasser, who won at Long Beach in his Atlantic series debut in 1991. "I'm just really excited. Next to Indianapolis, Long Beach to my heart is the No. 1 race of the year. I've had so many great races there. I figured I had my last race at Long Beach in 2008 and now low and behold I'm back again a celebrity race. I can't get Long Beach out of my blood."

Drivers will compete in identically-prepared Scion tCs in the 10-lap race that benefits Racing for Kids (a $5,000 donation in the name of each celebrity participant) plus $5,000 to the winner's charity of choice. On behalf of the race and its participants, Toyota has donated more than $1.8 million to various children's hospitals since 1991.

Also, a $15,000 donation is made in conjunction with the 13th annual "PEOPLE Pole Award." Sponsored by PEOPLE magazine, the award honors the pole winner from the April 16 qualifying session.

Joining Vasser in the Pro category are 2009 Celebrity category winner Keanu Reeves, Steve Millen (1986 and '88 Toyota MTEG champion and 1992 and '94 IMSA GT champion), Tanner Foust (Formula Drift champion and X Games Rally Gold Medalist), Jamie Bestwick (X Games athlete), and Marty Nothstein (Funny Car driver, professional road bicycle racer and track cyclist).

Celebrities participating include:

Megyn Price (Actress, "Rules of Engagement")

Zachary Levi (Actor, "Chuck")

Brian Austin Green (Actor, "Beverly Hills 90210")

Jesse McCartney (Musician/singer)

Adam Carolla (DJ, "Loveline")

Adrien Brody (Actor, "The Pianist," "King Kong")

Christian Slater (Actor, "True Romance," "Broken Arrow")

Tony Hawk (Pro skateboarder)

Tika Sumpter (Actress, "One Life to Live")

Patrick Warburton (Actor, "Rules of Engagement," "Seinfeld"

The Southern California Toyota Dealer seat is being filled by Chris Ashworth, Vice President & Partner of Toyota of North Hollywood. Rounding out the field are charity auction winners Jerry Westlund and Dave Pasant, who each won the opportunity to race in exchange for donations they made in two different charity auctions.

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