Peter Reckell Gets Candid with Soapdom!
The day after press/practice day, Peter called to talk about the upcoming Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. He was still on a high from taking the practice laps. I wanted to know how he got involved with the race in the first place.
“Josh Taylor (Roman, DOOL) did the race several years ago,” Reckell responded. “They always want a person from daytime to be part of the event. Promoters said ‘had Peter never done this? He's a natural for this race car driver stuff,’ so…. They called me up and asked me if I wanted to do it, and I, of course, said yeah! It sounds great. So we just hooked up.”
Reckell was also impressed by the push that Toyota gives this event. “It's an awesome thing that Toyota is doing. They give us these cars that are amazing. They take care of them. We go out and beat them up, they fix them for us, and then they give lots of money to the children's hospital. It's really cool.”
Reckell is referring to the Toyota raising more than $100,000 this year for “Racing for Kids,” a non-profit program benefiting Southern California children’s hospitals. (See official race press release.) Any way you slice it, that's a nice chuck a change for charity.
What about training?
“We have two weekends out at Willow Springs,” explained Reckell. “It's a racetrack in Lancaster. We've had four days of training. It really helps my driving. You really know what a car is capable of doing and how to handle a car. (We) put them in spins and all kinds of fun stuff. Push a car to its limit, make it go as fast as it can (and), try to stay on the track. It's a lot of fun.”
The perfect tie-in for Reckell, who, as Bo Brady is, Mr. Motorcycle guy. I asked how often DOOL takes Bo on location with the bike because I couldn’t recall any recent scenes of that nature.
“We have gone on location in the past with the bike, but as budget is getting a little tighter, going out of the studio gets pretty expensive,” explained Reckell.
Speaking of Bo and his motorcycle, Reckell shared a scoop about his upcoming storyline. “I am real excited because this spring the character of Bo is getting to behave a little more as a rebel, like who he originally was,” said Reckell. “The whole cop thing is going to end, and he is going to jump on the motorcycle and go off into an adventure.”
But what about Salem PD? Is Bo going to leave the police force?
“Yes,” replied Reckell. “And that's pretty exciting.”
I’ll say. Plus, I couldn’t help wonder where that would leave Hope and the baby. “Not really sure how they are going to be handling it,” he replied. But he assured me that Dena Higley, the new head writer, and producers seem to be really excited about this new story direction. We will just have to tune in and watch it play out.
With Bo out of our system, we turned our attention back to the Pro/Celebrity Race. Reckell explained the difference in driving at Fast Lane Driving School and the actual race track.
“In race car driver’s terms, they call the actual track a “green track,” he explained. “It doesn't have any rubber laid down on it, so it's pretty slippery. At the (Fast Lane) track we were doing about 80 - 90 miles an hour. Yesterday, in Long Beach, we were gong about 110 - 120 miles an hour. You’ve got a green track that's slippery and it made things pretty exciting. Buzz (Aldren) was doing some donuts out there. I actually got turned around a couple of times. When you are pushing it to the limit, and you've got these extra things going on, it makes it more exciting.”
With the practice rounds behind him, Reckell now has the qualifying round to look forward to. Racers will qualify on Friday, April 11, 2003. “They put you in the starting position with faster people up front so you don't have to run into each other,” said Reckell. “On Friday we will be going around the track to see how fast we can go and get our fastest lap going. That's qualifying,” he explained. According to Reckell, the "cool thing" about qualifying is not only do the racers get their starting position in the grid for race day on Saturday, April 12, 2003, but The People Pole Winner gets $10,000 from People Magazine to donate to their favorite charity. That's a wonderful thing for People to do," said Reckell. The People Pole Winner is the racer who qualifies at the fastest time.
Reckell also mentioned how participating in this race has been a bonding experience for all the teammates. “You're doing something that you could get hurt pretty bad, (especially) if you don't have respect for people around you and the other drivers around you. Some dangerous things can happen. Our instructors were really proud of us – we all have respect for the track, for the speed, and respect for each other. We haven't wrecked too many cars and we've have a good time out there.”
Of all his teammates, Reckell had gotten closest with Olympic Champion, Picabo Street. “She's a great lady. Somebody who's got gold medals, an Olympic gold medal winner, that competitive spirit oozes out of her. It's kind of fun to be around someone like that.”
So who did Reckell feel would be the driver to beat? “For the pros, I think it is Josh (Brolin). He’s going to clean up as far as the pros are concerned. For the celebrities, it's a toss up. There are a lot of us who are pretty equal as far as speed. Adam Corolla (The Man Show, Crank Yankers) is probably the one to beat.”
Participating in this race is a real high for Reckell. It's not so much the driving of the fast cars, but it's the people he's driving with. "Everybody there -- the company you're keeping. Take Buzz Aldren, a guy who's walked on the moon! It's funny because we get introduced as celebrities and stuff, but when you're introduced after Buzz, you sort of feel like (who cares?)” Even after Aldren’s slight mishap on the track (“A wall hit me,” Aldren quipped), shook him up at first, but he recovered real quick. "Oh yeah,” agreed Reckell. "The guy is used to having the pedal to the metal. That's the way he lives his life. This is not going be any different.”
As it turns out, Reckell won’t be the only one in his family participating in the race. Mrs. Peter Reckell, aka singer/songwriter Kelly Moneymaker, will sing the National Anthem on opening day. “Isn't that fun? I am so excited about that,” said Reckell. “At our last training session on the weekend, Rita Tateel (of Celebrity Source, the publicity company who handles talent for this event) asked if anyone of us sang because we need somebody to do the National Anthem. Tommy Shane Steiner had done an event with Kelly the weekend before and heard Kelly sing. And Tommy said 'I know who should sing.' He loved Kelly's voice and he suggested her. I didn’t' even have to bring up her name,” Reckell said with a laugh.
Although driving fast would give anyone a high, Reckell has a few words of caution to fans. “The most dangerous part of me driving in this race is driving to and from practices and to and from the race. So be safe out there when you are driving,” he said. He also wanted to take the opportunity to remind everyone to never drink and drive.
"I even went on a regime the last month,” he said. “I am not drinking coffee and I am not drinking alcohol to prepare for this race." Did he do anything else to get into shape for the race like to build his leg muscles or anything? "No," he giggled. "I'm not doing any other work out (specifically for the race.)"
As for the outcome of the race, Reckell is looking forward to just finishing. "We all have a goal of finishing the race. You watch the past races and see all the people who crashed into the wall or whatever and you say, y’know what? It would be nice to just get through this race."
Would Reckell race again another year?
“Absolutely,” he replied. “The people at Toyota are amazing. This next weekend I am really looking forward to because we get an opportunity to go to the children's hospitals and visit with the kids, and then the whole event of the weekend is going to be pretty amazing. Josh got up last weekend at our practice session and said to us 'yeah, you've had fun out here with the practice driving, but the fun part is the whole event of the weekend.'”
One last thing I had to confirm -- Josh Brolin’s underwear story. Was it true that the racing jumpsuit made your underwear creep up your butt which is why Brolin wore a g-string?
Reckell laughed out loud. “That's just Josh,” he said. “He's got a wacky sense of humor. You get used to that. He's a funny, funny man. I like him a lot.”
For Brolin’s underwear story, getting Buzz Aldren’s autograph, and what else went on behind the scenes of Practice Day click here.
For the official Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race Press Release with the list of all the race participants, click here.
- Peter Reckell and Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race 2003 Official Press Release
- Peter Reckell and Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race 2003 Behind the Scenes of Press/Practice Day
- Peter Reckell Interview on Pro/Celeb Race 2003
- Peter Reckell Qualifies for First Position in Race and Wins "People Pole Award"
- Peter Reckell WINS the Race!
- Mark Consuelos (ex Mateo, AMC) Toyota Race Practice Day 2001
- Mark Consuelos (ex Mateo, AMC) Toyota Race 2001
- Jacob Young (ex Lucky, GH) Toyota Race Practice Day 2002
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