Way back, before the Jonas Brothers phenomenon really got rolling, the group played a gig at Kentucky Speedway before the IZOD IndyCar Series race day got rolling.
“I remember that show,” said Jonas, who is competing in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race – an adjunct to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – this weekend. “We pulled up with all the other busses and then we hung around in the back of the media center. Miss America was there, too. That seems so long ago.”
Indeed. It was before “Camp Rock,” appearances on the cover major magazines, No. 1 songs and celebrity A-list events.
The family grew up in North Carolina and has been auto racing fans of the stock car bent, but Jonas certainly appreciates the focus, stamina, athleticism and competitive nature of the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers competing on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn Long Beach street circuit. It was enough for him to handle the Scion tC during practice.
“This is the first time I’ve done something like this and I love,” Jonas said. “It’s a lot of fun but you have to get used to it. How often these days do you drive a manual car? Growing up you get your permit and license, but then you get here and you have to re-learn how to drive. We had four days of training before this practice and coming here you had to find your braking points and get used to the track.”
Toyota will donate $5,000 to Racing For Kids in the name of each celebrity racer and another $5,000 to the winning racer’s charity of choice. Additionally, a $15,000 donation will be made in conjunction with the 14th People Pole Award (sponsored by People magazine).
The celeb racers visited with patients at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach on April 14 as part of the Racing For Kids event. For 22 years, Racing For Kids representatives from the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights have visited children’s hospitals in race markets.
“I walked into one of the rooms and there was a poster of me and my brothers on the wall, and that made me feel good that our music maybe brings some joy to a young person’s life because they’re going through so much,” Jonas said. “No matter how much fun it is to race, it’s really getting out there and doing this for the kids.”