Don’t let anybody tell you the Toyota Pro Celebrity Race down at the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend isn’t real racing.
"True Blood” star Stephen Moyer saw some real blood Friday — he flipped his car in a dramatic crash during qualifying. He’s fine, he’s going to be back filming, so you vampire buffs can calm down. But Moyer pulled out of Saturday’s main race.
That opened the door for William Fichtner, who you probably saw in “Black Hawk Down” and “The Perfect Storm” but we guess you didn’t watch him in “Prison Break” because nobody really watched that.
Fichtner led wire to wire in a race that was pretty clean for one known for being more like bumper cars than smooth racing. Fichtner was damn excited about the whole thing… well, maybe a stronger word than damn.
“I know when I made that last Turn 11 and looked up and there was the checkered flag, well, there’s a camera in my car’s back seat shooting out, they’re going to have to beep that footage,” Fichtner said
Fichtner held off professional driver Ken Gushi, the 18-year-old star of the Japanese and American drift racing tours, for the overall win. Gushi said it was hard not to throw the car sideways and slide through a couple turns like in a video game, but he held it in and raced traditionally. And he is sure he could have won.
“I swear,” Gushi said looking at Fichtner, “one more lap and you were mine. One more lap.”
“What does that mean, we’re going on a date?” Fichtner responded.
To use the racing slang, Fichtner was fast all weekend.
If you think racing around the track is easy, you should ask Tito Ortiz. He’s the UFC light heavyweight champions and one of the biggest stars of MMA. He threw the car into a walls of tires.
So how does this compare to MMA, Tito?
“It compares a whole bunch,” he said. “You’ve got to have confidence, you have to stay calm and relax. It’s just not getting punched in the face is the only difference. But physically, I’m totally drained right now.”
Now that the celebs are off the track, all eyes turn to the real racers for the 1:15 p.m. start of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Will Power is on the pole and coming off a wire-to-wire victory in last week's Grand Prix of Alabama.