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Actor Dempsey could find Le Mans ride dreamy

The only all-American lineup at the 24 Hours of Le Mans might draw the most interest from non-racing fans.

The No. 77 Dempsey Del Piero-Proton Porsche is headlined by Patrick Dempsey — "McDreamy" of Grey's Anatomy fame. He joins Joe Foster and Patrick Long in driving the GTE Am division and driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the race, which starts today.

"I think anybody who's a road racer wants to race here," Dempsey said. "Having done it in the past and coming back and doing it with an all-American driver lineup … it's a tremendous honor. It means everything to us, and it's humbling, it's exciting, it's inspirational, and it's so moving to be a part of this event."

It's the actor's second time in the French endurance classic, but this time he appears to have a legitimate shot at a class victory. The car starts 47th of 56, but seventh of 14 in his class.

Dempsey, 47, shared a Ferrari at Le Mans in 2009 with Foster, his racing business partner. New to the entry this year is Long, a two-time Le Mans winner making his 10th start.

"We would sit around the kitchen or in the trailer dreaming about when we'd go to Le Mans and getting on the podium," said Dempsey, 47. "This has always been a dream and a goal."

Leffler ruling: A mechanical problem was to blame for the dirt-track crash that killed NASCAR driver Jason Leffler, New Jersey State Police said Friday. The report from the June 12 crash at Bridgeport Speedway in Logan Township said a torsion stop came off, causing part of the sprint car's suspension system to become lodged between a wheel and the steering system. Leffler, 37, could not control the car's steering and hit a concrete wall.

NHRA: John Force, the 15-time Funny Car champion, led the first day of qualifying at the New England Nationals in Epping, N.H., with a run of 4.051 seconds at 313.44 mph. Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also led their classes. Qualifying continues today.

.Fast facts

24 Hours of Le Mans

Starts 9 a.m. today, Le Mans, France

TV: 8:30 a.m. (prerace), 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 4-7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. through Sunday's 9 a.m. finish; Speed Channel

Lineup: See 24h-lemans.com, click on "results" then "Provisional Starting Grid"

Actor Dempsey could find Le Mans ride dreamy 06/21/13 [Last modified: Friday, June 21, 2013 10:01pm]
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