Grand Prix: Austin Green, Levi, Brody Top Celebrity Race

Video by Glen Golightly

In what was the most crash-filled celebrity race in recent memory, “Beverly Hills, 90210”s Brian Austin Green edged out actor Adrien Brody and “Chuck” star Zachary Levi—and nearly beat pro racer Jimmy Vasser—in the finals of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race on Saturday.

In the final lap Vasser, a former IndyCar World Series Champion, overtook Austin Green, who captured the lead from pole position holder Levi early on in the race. Once in the lead, a day of aggressive celebrity racing continued, with Austin Green and Brody bumping into one another and then Vasser’s rear end, nearly sending the pro out of control on the final lap.

“That was a great man-sandwich for me to be in,” quipped Austin Green during a humor-filled press conference following the race.

Among the many bumps, and several eventual crashes, were swipe by local club owner Jerry Westlund, who won a bid to be in the race for the second year, of Tony Hawk, putting the pro skateboarder into the wall and out of the race.

The 13 laps, several under yellow flag, where the most in celebrity race history, according to race officials. Many of the collisions may have been due to aggressive driving by celebrities and pros alike in this year’s race.

Austin Green claimed that funny man Adam Carolla was a hard-charging driver throughout the race. “He was trying to knock me into the wall in straight-aways,” Austin Green said. “He wasn’t messing around.”

Asked if the racers were aware of all the crashes going on around the course, aside from the yellow flags being thrown up, Levi replied: “We kept coming around corners and we just keep seeing cars just sitting there not moving.” Among his later comments on the aggressive driving and accidents, Austin Green put in: “It was a graveyard of cars.”

Levi talked before the race about difficulty holding on to pole position among the celebrity drivers, acknowledging that it would be difficult staying out front. His words proved to be true. “I lost it right away,” Levi said of the pole. “Austin, Adrien, Adam and I had been on each other the whole race.”

The clash Saturday on the streets of downtown Long Beach between a cast of A-list celebrities brought out mobs of media and screaming fans to see stars like Keanu Reeves, Christan Slater, recording artist Jesse McCartney, Patrick Warburton (Puddy from “Seinfeld”), “One Life to Live” star Tika Sumpter, BMX rider Jamie Bestwick and “Rules of Engagement” star Megyn Price.

Saturday’s celebrity race, a 10-lap race for charity, was conducted in race-modified Scion tCs on a 1.97-mile street circuit as part of the 36th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Celebrity Race on Saturday is one of the most popular of the six races that take place during the week.

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