Blog #2 – Toyota Pro Celebrity Race

Here we go with Blog #2 !

 I’m still not totally sure what to write about every week, but I’m going to figure that out. I’m sitting at the kitchen table with my wife, who is cutting out Easter Eggs out of construction party for our daughter’s class tomorrow. I feel like the luckiest man in the world…seriously.

This is my 8th year on the road with NASCAR for the SPEED Channel…yep, 8 years. It has totally flown by. Somewhere along that line, I got a call from a producer at BBC Worldwide asking me if I’d be interested in talking with them about being a host for the American version of the gigantic show Top Gear.

The whole time I kept trying to remember all the details so I could tell my friends about it once I was of course eliminated and at home watching like everyone else. Then, somehow, I got the call that said I was one of the hosts…talk about a dream come true. To have the opportunity to have not just one dream job, but two, is hard to put in to words how truly blessed and lucky I feel.

And then this winter I got a call asking if I would be interested in being in the Toyota Pro-Celebrity Race that takes place at the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix on April 14th. This is a call that I’ve been hoping to get since I was a kid…honestly. I remember watching that race on tv thinking “these are normal people who followed their dreams and ended up with really cool jobs, racing in a car that you can actually go buy at a dealership, racing on a world class track that hardly anyone gets to actually race on!” and now here I am preparing to hit the track. Total dream come true…

I can’t thank Toyota Racing enough for the amazing opportunity to be in the TPCR. I am of course still surprised to be put in with this amazing talented bunch, which to name a few includes super cool folks like William Fichtner (actor who won the race last year), Kim Coates (actor- Sons of Anarchy), Jillian Barberie Reynolds (Good Day LA) and my new friend Brody Jenner (from The Hills-super nice guy!). There are also some pro’s racing like Bryan Clausson (USAC/Indy Lites Racer), Fredrick Aasbo (Pro Drifter), and incredible music producer Jim Jonsin (Also races Grand Am- Rebel Rock Racing).

One of the coolest people there though is a guy named Jerry Westlund. Jerry is a really funny, really sweet guy who just happens to own 22 gentlemen’s clubs across this fine nation of ours. Jerry has been in the race 3 times before, and he wins this chance in a charity auction that benefits Racing For Kids, which is truly the reason we’re racing at all. Jerry is the life of the party, and has always made memories for the other contestants, but he’s really made a lasting memory on the children. Including this year’s race, Jerry has given more than $ 270,000 to this amazing cause, and although you may never see him on a tv show or in the movies, that makes him the biggest name in this bunch to me.

I’ll be racing in a TRD Scion TC that’s supercharged, a blast to drive, and completely reliable. As a car guy, I can tell you the hardest thing sometimes to do is make power that’s reliable and somehow TRD did it. So yeah, you can go to a dealership, pick up a stock Scion TC and grab the TRD parts catalogue and build your own.

Next year they’re switching to the new Scion FR-S which I personally can’t wait to drive…so that makes me wonder…if I win this thing, and I’m going to do everything I can to do so, does that mean I get to keep the car ?

A guy can dream right? That’s what got me this far…so I can’t stop dreaming now.

Here are a few pics I took while in LA for the first practice.  All add a few more after the press practice on April 3rd.
Me and pro drifter Fredrick Aasbo rockin’ the Rogue Status!
My buddy Brody Jenner was trying to race in golf shoes!  Ended up giving him a pair of my Globe skate shoes.
Music producer and Rebel Rock Racing owner Jim Jonsin, last year’s winner and actor William Fichtner, myself and Kim Coates from Son’s of Anarchy showing some love for the DTA Posse!

5 thoughts on “Blog #2 – Toyota Pro Celebrity Race

  1. So pumped for you bro. Couldn’t happen to a more genuine & down to earth guy. Keep it spicy my friend & I am totally willing to trade some thinkjose swag for some Rutledge swag! :)

  2. Just got a message from Heather to look at your webpage!! Way to go Rut!! I will use you as an example of what you can accomplish if you follow your dreams. I have a lot of talented students who can benefit from your success story!!

  3. When Toyota first invited you to participate in the Toyota Pro celebrity race, I honestly didn’t know who you were. I’m now your biggest fan! What an amazing, talented, funny, nice, and genuine human being you are! My new favorite celebrity!!!

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