Crashes with stars
Celebrities driving race cars is a good thing, right?
Posted: Wednesday April 18, 2007 5:50PM; Updated: Saturday April 21, 2007 7:03PM
George Lucas is sitting in the back of a Toyota pickup truck, wearing a red and white race suit as he makes his way to the starting line of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. His strategy as he steps off the truck and into his race car is really quite simple. "I'm just going to watch everyone in front of me crash," he says.
Apparently Lucas wasn't kidding. Stuck in the middle of the pack with two laps left in a relatively clean race last weekend, Lucas took matters into his own hands, attempting a dangerously impossible pass on Annmarie Dean, a mother of four who paid $50,000 in an auction to participate in the race. Lucas basically sideswiped Dean before careening backwards into a wall of tires and getting hit head-on by Dean.
"It was way too risky," Lucas said. "I was caught up in the moment. I thought when I slammed on the brakes that I would be able to handle it, but the car couldn't."
After the Star Wars producer returned to the celebrity compound, which was set up just outside the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, most of the celebrities involved in the race approached him to see how he was doing.
"You came in hot," professional skateboarder Bucky Lasek said. "You came past me hot and I was like, 'Holy moley.' "
"Very hot," said Lucas. "I was focusing on getting past (actress) Kelly (Hu) and not on what I was doing because Kelly pulled in right behind you and I was sitting there saying, 'You're not going to get by me, you're not going to get by me,' and then by the time I put the brakes on I had nothing. I'm sure I got skid marks all the way into the wall."
There was a slightly smaller accident before Lucas' wreck involving Playboy Playmate Kendra Wilkinson, who crashed into a wall halfway through the race. "I'm happy I came this far," said Wilkinson, who was comforted after the crash by Hugh Hefner, who was the race's Grand Marshall. "There were a lot of crashes during practice yesterday and I saved my crash for today."
BMX legend Dave Mirra won the race for the second consecutive year, beating out a field of 18 celebrities that also included Kathryn Morris, Emily Procter, Aisha Tyler, Martina Navratilova, John Salley, Joshua Morrow and Robin Quivers.
While Quivers finished last among the drivers who weren't involved in a wreck, she did meet the goal set out for her by Howard Stern.
"Howard's advice to me when I left on Thursday was please don't die," she said. "So I didn't let him down."
Lamar Odom's Rich Soil
Shammond Williams is completely out of his element. He might play in front of countless celebrities for the Los Angeles Lakers but he's not used to walking the red -- or in this case, black -- carpet, and posing for photographers and chatting up Hollywood reporters.
"I'm not a carpet type of guy," he says. "I'm old fashioned. I like to sit back and mingle in. By the time they figure out who I am and what I do I'm already gone."
Williams and many of his Lakers teammates are walking the carpet into the Air Conditioned Supper Club in Venice, Calif., for Lamar Odom, who is hosting a private showcase for his record label, Rich Soil Entertainment and his new clothing line, Son of Man.
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