Grand Prix: Alex Trebek Won’t Jeopardize Safety Next Week

You don’t host America’s most popular game show for 25 years by being impulsive, by overreaching, or by rushing—it takes slow and steady patience to run a marathon like that.  And that’s exactly the mentality that Jeopardy host Alex Trebek has brought to Long Beach for the Grand Prix Celebrity race, which he plans to win while keeping it at about 80mph, and without doing any passing.  I’ll take, “Probably Not Going To Happen” for $1,000 please, Alex.

“I’m just going to wait for everyone to crash, and then go by them,” he told me yesterday at the Grand Prix Celebrity/Media day.  “It’s very dangerous to pass people, you don’t want to do that.”  While I can’t disagree that it can be dangerous to pass, I’m pretty sure that when you’re racing, you do in fact want to pass people.  “Then again,” he pointed out, “I don’t pass too many people on the freeway either.”

The esteemed (and oft-imitated) Trebek seemed to be enjoying himself in Long Beach, checking the stock market while signing autographs for young fans—he also admitted after a little buttering up that his tortoise and the hare philosophy was as much about fear as it was strategy.  “85 miles and hour is more than enough for me,” he said.  “I just want to be comfortable and listen to the radio.”  Unfortunately for Alex, those Toyota racers don’t come with 94.7 The Wave preprogrammed on the switch.

After taking a few practice laps, he didn’t seem to be settling in.  “These cars are so complicated—this is why someone invented automatic transmission.  And all the smells…I think I might be going to buy one of those deodorizers after this.”

You might be confused (as I was) as to why Trebek was forcing himself to endure the rigors (and apparently the smells) of a street race—he seemed a little perplexed as well, basically saying that since he was asked, he figured he would.  “I thought it would be an exciting experience, and so far it’s turned out to be exactly that.”  Just, you know, not too exciting.

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