Palmer fifth in Toyota celebrity race |

Palmer fifth in Toyota celebrity race

The new millennium hasn’t been kind to snowboarder/mountain biker Shaun Palmer in the title defense department.

The Meeks Bay resident didn’t defend as a three-time boardercross champion at the Winter X Games in February, and a second straight victory in the Toyota Pro Celebrity Race slipped through his grasp on Saturday in Long Beach, Calif.

Palmer, who recently participated in the Superstars competition in Jamaica, finished fifth among 17 celebrity drivers in the 24th annual event on the streets of Long Beach.

Like Palmer did a year ago, actor Josh Brolin won the race from wire-to-wire. The victory was second triumph for the Brolin. His dad, James, won the race in 1978.

“I’ve been obsessing about this race for weeks, losing sleep over it,” Josh Brolin said in an interview reprinted on the CART Web site. “But it’s a great competition and hopefully this is just the beginning for me in racing. I tried to run a smart race.”

Runner-up Joshua Morrow of “The Young and The Restless” pressed Brolin to the finish, losing by three seconds. Brolin averaged 64.022 mph over 10 laps, which the “Mod Squad” movie star completed in 18 minutes, 26.621 seconds.

Palmer, however, did outrace some huge sports celebrities with his fifth-place performance. Hall-of-Fame baseball player Robin Yount was sixth and retired NFL quarterback John Elway came in ninth.

Amateur driver Don Simons placed third and pro entrant Derek Daly, a broadcaster, finished fourth. After Palmer in fifth came Yount, magazine editor Dutch Mandel, amateur driver John Shirley, Elway, model Rod Brewster, former racer Lyn St. James, actress Melissa Joan Hart, Toyota dealer Cliff Cummings, actress Alyson Hannigan, actress Ashley Judd, Star Wars and Indiana Jones creator and film director George Lucas and TV meteorologist Dallas Raines.

Palmer, who won his first skiercross gold medal at the 2000 X Games, overwhelmed the field from the pole a year ago in a race littered with crashes.

“I had a great race with a clear track,” Palmer said. “When I aught up to the field later in the race, it looked like bombs had gone off and I was in a war zone.”

ESPN will televise the celebrity race on April 30.

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