Various-grade celebrities have already attempted dancing and skating on reality TV shows, and now a fresh slate of would-be winners will turn to driving, mashing the gas for an ABC series set to air this summer.
A dozen stars have signed on for the Fast Cars & Superstars—Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, with would-be leadfoots including athletes (2007 Australian Open tennis champion Serena Williams, bullrider Ty Murray, WWE champ John Cena) and performers (singer Jewel, actors William Shatner and Krista Allen). This week, each celeb is getting behind the wheel for several speed trials at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., vying for a chance to hoist a winner's trophy at the track's victory lane. Showing them the ropes are several top NASCAR drivers, including 2006 Nextel Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne, as well as a slew of race driving instructors.
In the first practice sessions on March 12, half the stars got some trial runs in, and a clearly rattled Serena Williams was at the bottom of the speed chart — with her best time slower than her vaunted tennis serve — although her confidence had already been climbing throughout the day. NFL legend John Elway made a very respectable showing for a newcomer, with a bubbly Allen hot on his heels.
Watching skateboard legend Tony Hawk go through some swift circuits, series co-anchor Brad Daugherty reminded us that Hawk was the first man to successfully land a 900-degree spin on his board. "Yeah," said Fast Cars host Kenny Mayne, of ESPN, "But hopefully he won't do that here."
The Celebrity Participants
• Krista Allen, actress (Baywatch, What About Brian)
• John Elway, former Denver Broncos quarterback
• Tony Hawk, skateboarding legend
• Ty Murray, seven-time world all-around rodeo champion
• Jewel, Grammy-nominated musician
• Serena Williams, tennis champion
• John Cena, reigning World Wrestling Entertainment champion
• Laird Hamilton, champion surfer
• Gabrielle Reece, champion volleyball player, model
• Bill Cowher, Super Bowl-winning Pittsburgh Steelers head coach
• William Shatner, actor (Star Trek, Boston Legal)
• John Salley, former NBA star, co-host of The Best Damn Sports Show Period
The NASCAR "Young Guns"
• Kurt Busch
• Carl Edwards
• Jimmie Johnson
• Kasey Kahne
• Jamie McMurray
• Ryan Newman
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