Brett Davern has spent the last four years as one of the top drivers in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. The Awkward star shot to near-victory in 2013, then took the victory in 2014 and has always been a contender. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s been one of the charity motorsports event’s best people to have in the paddock. IndyCar Examiner spoke to Brett before the 2016 TPCR to talk about what he’ll recall from the race.
Over the last four years Brett’s driving has earned him plenty of compliments; two-time IndyCar champion Al Unser Jr. recently named him as one of the two top celebrity drivers in the field. Maybe he’s so successful because this has been a longtime part of his history. “I’ve always loved driving,” he said. “I’m not such a huge race fan so to speak. I know some drivers’ names and I loosely pay attention when it’s on sports channels. But I just love to drive.”
“My family and I used to go mess around on go kart tracks, at family fun centers. My mom used to let me drive home from school in like eighth grade,” he continued. “I just learned to drive real young and I’ve always loved it and I thought I had a skill for it.”
Getting behind the wheel of a Toyota Scion FR-S on the streets of Long Beach is a step up from piloting the family car a few blocks home, and Brett has evolved from a driving enthusiast into one of the Pro/Celebrity Race’s smartest and most consistent drivers. No matter the competition he’s always somewhere near the top. Going into the 40th and final year of the event, though, he looked at it a bit differently.
“Everybody wants to win so badly that it’s almost coming back around to me full circle and making me not want to,” he laughed. “I don’t know what it is. Everyone’s so competitive and honestly, the worst thing in the world is to be so aggressive that you crash on the first lap and you have to watch the rest of the race in the rear view mirror. That would be the worst thing in the world.
“I want to go out, have fun and finish and if I can be in a good race for 5th place, that’s fine with me,” he continued. “I would love to win, I want to win but it’s been such an honor to be part of this event that I just want to put on a good show for the fans.”
Unfortunately his race ended prematurely when on the third lap, he hit a wall of tires. Brett might have been able to get back into gear, but the blind turn meant that Bob Carter hit the side of his car and definitively ended his day. Carter’s car was then struck by that of Sean Patrick Flanery. Thankfully, everyone involved was okay. But showing how much of a sportsman he is, Brett took even this with a smile on his face and no hard feelings.
After all his real interest in the Pro/Celebrity Race is the charitable effort – something he’s hoping to stay involved with even though the race itself is over.
“I always describe this event as summer camp because you get to make these amazing friends,” he continued. “It feels like home. It feels like family. I just wish it didn’t cost so much to put on this event and we could do it for the rest of our lives. All good things must come to an end. I just hope that the money donated as part of the Long Beach Grand Prix to the children’s hospital continues in some fashion or another. At the end of the day, we’re all here for Racing for Kids.
“We get to go have fun. We get to burn up some brakes and tires and have fun doing that, get to feel that we’re race car drivers,” he continued, “but some of those kids, they’ve been in the hospital for a long time and they don’t get to feel that, so when we can go there and bring some smiles to their faces or some levity, that’s what it’s about.”
Season 5 of Awkward airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on MTV.