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Press release from PR Newswire

Gaming Expert Predicts Stars Will Edge Out Pro Drivers in 2013 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gaming Expert Predicts Stars Will Edge Out Pro Drivers in 2013 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race

11:00 EDT Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Las Vegas Handicapper Anthony Curtis Expects Top Spots in Charitable Competition to go to TV Host Mark Steines, Racing Analyst Rutledge Wood and Actor Michael Trucco

LONG BEACH, Calif., April 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- This year's famous Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race participants aren't just familiar faces, they're good race car drivers too. After watching additional practice sessions on April 9, professional odds-maker Anthony Curtis adjusted his initial predictions to show celebrity drivers will likely hold the top three spots in the prestigious charitable race, coming in ahead of their professional driver competitors. Hallmark Channel host and past "Entertainment Tonight" personality Mark Steines is still expected to lead the pack after the most recent track session, and the odds have been slightly increased in his favor.

As president of LasVegasAdvisor.com and a recognized gambling authority, Curtis has lent his handicapping skills to the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race for the past six years. This year's race participants will drive 210-horsepower Scion FR-S race vehicles on the famed Long Beach, Calif. street circuit. Not only did Curtis evaluate the racers during March training sessions and the April 9 session in Long Beach, Calif., he knows the track from driving it himself.  The 19 race participants will navigate 10 laps on the famed 1.97-mile circuit on April 20 as part of the 39th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Despite predicting Steines will finish first, Curtis's predictions are tightly together, reflecting his belief that the race is wide open among several competitors. Racing analyst Rutledge Wood, actor Michael Trucco, motocross champion Andy Bell and philanthropist Carter Lay all have a good shot at the trophy. And close behind are swimmer Tyler Clary, actor Jesse Metcalfe and Mexican superstar Kate del Castillo. Del Castillo has the best female odds since ESPN pit reporter Jamie Little in 2008, the same year Little won.

As the longest-running, corporate sponsored event of its kind, the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race benefits Racing for Kids, a national fundraising program for U.S. children's hospitals. Toyota has donated more than $2 million on behalf of this race and its participants since 1991.

"This year's Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race features a strong group of celebrities pushing ahead of the highly competitive pro drivers," Curtis said. "There are so many factors on race day, making this an exciting competition and a great way to benefit kids."

Curtis's exclusive expert predictions are solely for entertainment purposes on www.lasvegasadvisor.com. The updated racer odds are as follows:

Celebrities

  • Mark Steines (5-1)

The additional practice session only increased Curtis's feeling that this is the winning year for the Emmy award-winning journalist and TV host who is making his fourth attempt. Can he handle the pressure of winning expectations?

  • Rutledge Wood (7-1)

The odds for the Fox Sports/SPEED racing commentator improved after the Long Beach practice. It's his second time in the Pro/Celebrity Race, and he can draw on his career of racing analysis. Is it enough to move up to the top?

  • Michael Trucco (8-1)

The famous "Battlestar Galactica" actor slid down one spot in the second odds analysis. It may make him hungry enough to overtake Steines and Wood and roar into the lead.

  • Jesse Metcalfe (9-1)

NASCAR driving lessons for his "Dallas" television role may have helped Metcalfe, who improved his race day odds. It's clear he has fun behind the wheel, but can he turn his racing rookie status into a win?

  • Kate del Castillo (9-1)

The Mexican actress keeps improving, making gains against the earlier odds and learning from her experience in last year's race. As the top-ranked woman in the race, she's looking to bring home the trophy on behalf of all the ladies.

  • Dakota Meyer (15-1)

Odds on the Medal of Honor recipient remained the same, but conditions on race day favor those who can stay steady under pressure. Meyer has a reputation for excellence and will bring his best to the track.

  • Jessica Hardy (15-1)

The Olympic swimming medalist made the biggest improvement among the group, up from her 18-1 opening odds. She'll need to draw on her competitive spirit if she wants gold in her Pro/Celebrity Race debut.

  • Jeremy Sisto (16-1)

The odds stayed steady for the "Suburgatory" star who remains in the middle of the pack. But nothing is certain on race day, and Sisto might pull ahead for a stronger finish.

  • Brett Davern (17-1)

The practices are learning opportunities, and the star of MTV's hit series "Awkward" has shown some improvement over his earlier odds. His fans are hoping he can pull off a graceful move to claim a prize.

  • Jackson Rathbone (19-1)

Vampires may not sleep, but this "Twilight" movie series star better get some rest if he hopes to be competitive on the track. His odds remained the same, but he has loyal fans cheering him on.

  • Jenna Elfman (24-1)

The "1600 Penn" actress may be smiling that she improved her odds, but she could really be grinning if she could come from behind and beat out some star-studded competitors.

  • Wanda Sykes (38-1)

Odds stays the same for the comedian, but a little extra speed may help her finish stronger, and maybe get her laughing.

The Southern California Toyota dealer seat is being filled by Glenn Faber, partner and general manager of Los Angeles area Keyes Toyota. Also in this year's race are charity auction winners Dave Pasant and Carter Lay.

  • Carter Lay (17-2)

Odds slipped a little lower for the philanthropist and LAY'S® chips heir. Will he respond to the analysis with a burst of speed?

  • Dave Pasant (11-1)

The five-time participant and retired insurance executive lost some ground in his odds, but he's still committed to another year finishing strong and having fun.

  • Glenn Faber (16-1)

The Toyota dealer performed well in the practice sessions, improving his odds. He has shown he is passionate about cars, but will need to bring everything he has to race day.

The celebrity field gets a 25-second head start on the professional drivers. This year's diverse racing group includes drivers from several areas of motorsport.

  • Andy Bell (17-2)

The motocross champion and MTV's "Nitro Circus" star slipped a little in the predictions, but he has bounced back from stunts and rough roads before. Will it take a risky move to move him onto the podium?

  • Tyler Clary (9-1)

The Olympic intensity and practice paid off for this gold medal swimmer who improved his odds. Fans can expect him to leave nothing behind on the track.

  • Adam Carolla (14-1)

He may not be laughing that his odds decreased, but comedian Carolla is still fresh off his win last year in the celebrity category. He may pull out another great performance on race day.

  • Melanie Troxel (15-1)

The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) driver knows high speeds, but lost some ground and remains last in the pro category. Don't count her out; she may hit her stride on the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race track.

"The closer we get to race day, the more fun it is to consider the friendly participant analysis from Anthony Curtis," said Les Unger, Toyota's national motorsports manager. "We appreciate his help to build the enthusiasm and competitive spirit around this race that benefits kids, no matter who wins."

On behalf of each participant, Toyota donates $5,000 to Racing for Kids. Toyota will also donate another $5,000 to a charity of the winning racer's choice. A $15,000 donation accompanies the annual People Pole Award, the People magazine?sponsored award honoring the pole-position qualifying session winner on April 19.

To learn more about the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, go to www.toyotaracing.com, visit Toyota Racing on Facebook or on Twitter @ToyotaRacing, or join the conversation with the participants using #TPCR.

NOTE: Celebrity odds are provided for entertainment purposes only. Wagering on the outcome of the race is neither encouraged nor implied.

ABOUT ANTHONY CURTISAnthony Curtis is one of the world's most recognized and quoted gambling authorities. The president of LasVegasAdvisor.com, he has appeared as a casino expert on "Dateline NBC," "48 Hours," A&E, E! Entertainment, Discovery, the Travel Channel, the Food Channel and the Learning Channel. He has been the subject of articles in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Diego Union-Tribune, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel and Discover magazine. Curtis is author of Bargain City?Booking, Betting and Beating the New Las Vegas and The Art of Gambling Through the Ages. Considered one of the world's foremost experts in tournament play, Curtis's top tournament wins include $76,000 in the World Matchplay Blackjack Championship, $125,000 in the Atlantic City Craps Championship, $50,000 in the Las Vegas Keno Championship and $60,000 in the Las Vegas Blackjack Championship.

About ToyotaToyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. Toyota directly employs over 31,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $23 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.

Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed nearly $700 million to philanthropic programs in the U.S.

For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/philanthropy.

CONTACT:

Les Unger

Rebecca Lee

Toyota Racing     

GolinHarris for Toyota

310-468-4709

213-438-8827

les_unger@toyota.com

rlee@golinharris.com

Erika Romero

Sharon Noot

Toyota Racing

Noot Incorporated

310-468-3948

714-527-7735

erika_romero@toyota.com

sharon@nootinc.com   

SOURCE Toyota Racing

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