End of an era: 40th and final running of Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in Long Beach

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One of the longest running and more popular events in motorsports will take the checkered flag for the final time next month.

The 40th anniversary of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, which is one of the key support races for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, will take place for the final time on April 16.

“At Toyota, we wanted to do something unique for this final race,” Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., said in a release. “By hosting a field comprised mostly of past Toyota Pro/Celebrity winners, we anticipate this to be the most competitive race in the event’s history with a diverse field of celebrity and professional drivers.”

This year’s race on a 1.97-mile street course will include more than 20 past Pro, Overall or Celebrity winners of the event driving identically prepared 210-horsepower Scion FR-S cars.

Competitors will be racing to benefit “Racing For Kids,” a charitable organization supporting children’s hospitals throughout the United States. Since 1991, Toyota has donated more than $2.3 million to the organization on behalf of this race and its participants.

Here’s the field for the final Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race:

Former racers: Al Unser Jr., Jimmy Vasser, Eddie Lawson, Rod Millen, Max Papis, Mike Skinner and Ken Gushi.

Actors: Stephen Baldwin, Ricky Schroder, Alfonso Ribeiro, Chris McDonald, Frankie Muniz, Brian Austin Green, William Fichtner, Adam Carolla and Brett Davern.

Also: NBC Sports personality Rutledge Wood, swimmer Dara Torres, Toyota Senior Vice President Bob Carter and business executives Dave Passant and Doug Fregin, who together have donated nearly $750,000 to Racing For Kids charity.

“This should be a thrilling race with so many of the participants past winners here at Long Beach,” Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach said. “It will be interesting to see who best recalls the racing technique that will enable them to once again stand on top of the podium.”

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Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.