Palmer outraces celebrities
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Shaun Palmer, one of the most dominant athletes in the world of extreme sports, outshined a field of celebrity and professional drivers to win the 23rd annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in the streets of downtown Long Beach.
Off-road champion and racing legend Roger Mears won the professional category, with Glen Plake, Palmer’s longtime friend and rival on the slopes around Lake Tahoe, finishing second.
Palmer, a three-time Winter Extreme Games gold medalist and a five-time snowboard world champion, led from start to finish in a race filled with bumper-to-bumper action. Some of the wreckage included 1991 Toyota Pro/Celebrity champion Donny Osmond overturning his car after running into a tire barrier; last year’s celebrity champion, Andy Lauer, being knocked out of the race after going into a wall; “Baywatch” star Jose Solano ending his race after getting bumped into the wall; and more than a half dozen other paint-swapping incidents.
“I had a great race with a clear track,” said Palmer, who claimed he wants to dominate every sport in the world. “When I caught up to the field later in the race, it looked like bombs had gone off and I was in a war zone.”
The race began clean with Palmer, who also earned the PEOPLE Pole Award on Friday as the top celebrity qualifier, getting his patented jump on Osmond, Carl Lewis, Coolio, Melissa Joan Hart and the other drivers. After the first lap, however, the activity began to heat up.
“It all happened in slow motion,” said Donny Osmond, whose car ended up on its roof after he took a turn too wide and went into a wall of tires. “The scary part was I’m hanging upside down. The first thing the work crew asked when they got to me was if I was OK. Obviously, everything turned out OK.”
Highlights of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race were broadcasted Sunday on ABC. The 10-lap race, held on the 1.85-mile Champ Car track, will be broadcast in its entirety on ESPN on Sunday, April 25 and again on ESPN 2 on June 6.
The final standings for the field are:
Shaun Palmer – 19:37 minutes
1. Shaun Palmer
2. Ze’ev Drori
3. Mike Sullivan
4. Carl Lewis
5. Catherine Bell
6. Kim Alexis
7. Melissa Joan Hart
8. Daryl Mitchell
10. Daryn Kagan
11. Lauralee Bell
12. Donny Osmond
13. Jose Solano
14. Andy Lauer
1. Roger Mears
2. Glen Plake
3. Angelle Seeling
4. Gary Scelzi
As part of the event, Toyota raised over $200,000 for “Racing for Kids,” a national
fund-raising program to benefit children’s hospitals in Long Beach, Los Angeles and
Orange counties through its involvement with the 25th Anniversary Toyota Grand Prix of
Highlights of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race will be broadcast on ABC, Sunday,
April 18 during the telecast of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (4 p.m. EST). The
10-lap race, held on the 1.85-mile Champ Car track, will be broadcast in its entirety on
ESPN, Sunday, April 25 at 5 p.m. EST and again on ESPN 2 on June 6 at 11 p.m. EST.
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