By Patrick Olsen on June 18, 2007
Before this competition got started, several Cars.com staffers pegged Tony Hawk as the most likely winner of “Fast Cars & Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Race” (which Cars.com is sponsoring) from the group of 12 celebrities. Last night, Hawk may not have been the fastest guy on the racetrack (holy cow, Ty Murray was on fire!), but he was by far the most accurate.
Accuracy’s the name of the game for this round: Celebrities have to get their left tires to hit a series of arrows painted on the racetrack surface, then park their racecar squarely in a box along pit row. For each set of arrows they miss, they get another 2 seconds added to their time. If they miss the box at the end, they could see anywhere from 5 seconds to 15 seconds added to their time. Speed counts, but accuracy is more important.
It was a lack of accuracy that took out pro surfer Laird Hamilton. Hamilton had trouble getting up to full speed and consequently seemed to spend more time trying to catch up to his pace car than he spent trying to hit markers on the racetrack. He was so hot coming into pit row, where he needed to stop his racecar directly in a box, that he went screeching past it, tires locking up and creating tons of smoke. By missing five sets of arrows and the pit row box, Hamilton was hit with a 25-second penalty, which ended up knocking him out of competition.
Ex-Broncos QB John Elway was in the middle of the pack, both in accuracy and speed, and that left him comfortably in second place. Hawk was the slowest driver on the course, but he didn’t miss a single set of arrows and parked his car perfectly in the center of the box, allowing others’ mistakes to help him advance on to the finals.
Murray, the ex-cowboy, was blazing on his trip around the track, missing two sets of arrows, roaring past his pace car and coming to a skidding stop on pit row, where he ended up with his car half out of the box. Still, his time was so far ahead of the rest of the group that he still wound up with the best time, even with 9 seconds in penalty time added to his lap times. Given that the final round is strictly a speed challenge, Murray has painted a big target on his own back as the guy to beat.
Tomorrow night, Jewel, Gabrielle Reece, John Cena and Bill Cowher will tackle the same tasks. It may come down to Jewel fighting her boyfriend Ty Murray for the “Fast Cars & Superstars” title.
Editor-in-Chief Patrick Olsen was born and raised in California. He loves pickup trucks and drivers who pay attention. Email Patrick