Grunion Gazette - Long Beach

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Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race: Carolla Laughs His Way To Win

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Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2012 2:00 am

Aside from all of the money raised and advertisers plugged, the 2012 Pro/Celebrity Race at the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach was a wildly entertaining race with funny man Adam Carolla surviving multiple dustups to take the checkered flag.

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The 47-year-old Carolla (above), co-creator of “The Man Show” and host of his own hilarious podcast “Adam Carolla Show”, started in the sixth spot overall after qualifying yesterday was cancelled due to rain. But sixth meant second in the celebrity field behind actor Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy, Black Hawk Down), and the Los Angeles native was pushing hard from the drop of the green flag.

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The biggest crash between the Scion tC’s came on the fourth lap of the 10-lap race when reality-TV star Brody Jenner tried to pass actor Eddie Cibrian in the middle of the chase pack (above). Cibrian felt Jenner coming and sped up into turn nine off the back straight away. He went too wide and hit the barrier, and when he came back into the line he rode Jenner into the wall hard.

“I gave him a little nudge, and he didn’t back off,” Jenner said after the race. “So I knew we were going into the turn too fast, so I backed off … but he hit the wall and unfortunately he bounced off and hit me and took me into the wall. It’s racing, though, everybody got to see a good crash, so that’s what I’m most proud of.”

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The yellow flag immediately dropped for two laps under caution, but Carolla was simultaneously passing Coates at turn 11 (above), and when the green flag came back he started to create some space. However, on the next trip around, Coates ran up on the wall in the hairpin turn (below) and the caution brought the Carolla back to the chase pack.

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Leading that group was actor Hill Harper, who is now starring in the crime-procedural “CSI: NY” and got his start in Spike Lee’s “Get On The Bus”. He started the day in the 12th spot, eighth in the celebrity field, and Hill dodged the wrecks at turns nine and eleven by inches. When the green flag came back he followed Carolla at an even closer margin (below).

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But the comedian was able to hold off the actor for the final four laps, and Carolla pulled into the winner’s circle after his third try in this race. He had finished ninth and third in his first two tries.

“It’s a substantial trophy, I was excited,” a grinning Carolla said after the win. “It was really, really nice. I’ve done it three times and it was great to win on my third.”

Hill posted the fastest lap of any celebrity with a time of 1:48.021, a fact that Carolla, predictably, met with a joke. “I will think about that every time I polish my crystal trophy.“

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Pro driver Fredric Aasbø took the Pro title, finishing just over six seconds behind Carolla in fourth place overall. The highest female finisher was telenovela actress Kate del Castillo, who came in 10th and had the biggest and most dedicated fan base of any of the celebrities.

Post Race Press Conference:

Photos By William Johnson

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Steve Hartman

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