Ribeiro, Pasant Take Pro/Celebrity Race
Dave Pasant makes pass in final turn to win celebrity category in his sixth attempt at ‘The Beach’
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 18, 2015) — Alfonso Ribeiro won the 2015 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Pro/Celebrity race, triumphing over a field of film, television, music and sports stars in the annual charity racing event. The roaring crowd witnessed the stunning performance by Ribeiro who started the race 30-seconds behind the celebrity division in his Scion FR-S race car. Dave Pasant finished first in the celebrity category.
Ribeiro, a two-time Toyota Pro/Celebrity winner (1994 & 1995), is best known for his role as ‘Carlton’ on “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Ribeiro, who took home the coveted Mirror Ball trophy last season on “Dancing with the Stars,” took the pro division pole position in Friday’s qualifying, turning a lap of 1:44.449.
Ribeiro started in 14th position overall, 30-seconds behind the celebrity drivers, but in just four laps, he passed then celebrity leader Joshua Morrow who plays ‘Nicolas Newman’ on the No. 1 daytime drama “The Young and the Restless,” and never looked back, leading the last six laps of the 1.97-mile street course in downtown Long Beach.
“It’s great to be back in Long Beach,” Ribeiro said after the race. “But at the end of the day, it is all about the kids. When we walk into the rooms at Miller Children’s Hospital, wow, that’s what it is all about. This was a great year, we had such a tight group, we had fun, we talked racing and we became a family.”
“iCarly” star Nathan Kress, who finished third in qualifying, took second in the celebrity category, followed by the star of CBS’s “Scorpion,” Robert Patrick.
“The pace of this race was extremely fast and the drivers were very competitive,” said President and CEO of the Grand Prix Association Jim Michaelian. “There was some exciting action in the field that had the fans on their feet. Congratulations to Alfonso Ribeiro and Dave Pasant for their victories. A special thanks to all this year’s participants. All their enthusiasm is, ultimately, for a great cause, and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Pro/Celebrity Race is proud to be able to make it happen.”
Morrow, who took the celebrity pole during Friday’s qualifying with a lap of 1:47.446, got out to a great start and lead the celebrity field to the white flag. Morrow was one turn away from the checkered, when Pasant showed up in his rearview, tapped his back bumper, causing Morrow to lose control sending Pasant to victory lane.
“This win is bittersweet for me,” Pasant said in a post-race press conference. “My heart goes out to him (Joshua Morrow), and that certainly wasn’t the finish I had hoped for — I wanted to race Josh to the (checkered) flag.”
Pasant choked back tears talking about his experience in the race, and his visit to Miller Children’s Hospital.
“The visit at Miller Children’s Hospital was wonderful,” he said. “That visit, those kids, that’s what this race is all about. I am so happy to have won this race, it truly is a dream for me and really is for the kids.”
Mexican actor best known for his role as ‘Charcota’ in “El Senor de los Cielos” had a solid race, starting in the second position and finishing 4th in the celebrity category, with lead singer of Sugar Ray, Mark McGrath rounding out the Top 5.
Dara Torres, 12-time Olympic medalist swimmer, who was the first woman to ever win the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race was the top female finisher with a 5th-place showing.
Toyota will donate $5,000 to Racing for Kids in the name of each participant, for a total of $90,000, and an additional $5,000 to Fresh Start Surgical Gifts on behalf of Ribeiro. Fresh Start Surgical Gifts is a national nonprofit program benefiting infants, children and teens with physical deformities caused by birth defects, accidents, abuse or disease through the gift of reconstructive surgery.
The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is scheduled to be broadcast on CBS Sports on May 10, and will be re-air numerous times. (Check your local listings for details).