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Celebrity connections

Actress Ashley Judd and late-night talk show host David Letterman express their passions for auto racing.

By Times Staff
Published April 1, 2005


Ashley Judd

CLAIM TO FAME: From the famous Judd family that includes mother Naomi and step-sister Wynonna, she has starred in many films, including Heat with Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, A Time to Kill with Sandra Bullock, Double Jeopardy with Tommy Lee Jones and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood again with Bullock.

AUTOS CONNECTION: Married to driver Dario Franchitti.

CAR TALK: "Dario is so voracious about motorsport, that we watch literally everything. (One) Sunday, we went from - There was something on first, and I can't remember what it was. I don't think that there was a Formula One (race), but there was something. Then we watched the CART race. Then we watched the NASCAR race. Then we watched the 500cc bike series. It was the Italian Grand Prix with Valentino Rossi, who is the great hero in Italy at the moment, with the announcer so obnoxiously extolling his many virtues. It was the most loud program. And then we watched the Isle of Man TT bike race. I was losing my mind. That's like 12 hours of motorsport pouring out of every TV in the house." LIKELIHOOD SHE'LL BE HERE: Pretty good. She attends many races, and with her beloved Kentucky out of the NCAA Tournament, she doesn't have to be at the Final Four.

David Letterman

CLAIM TO FAME: Host of Late Show with David Letterman on CBS.

AUTOS CONNECTION: Grew up in Indianapolis watching the legends of the 500. Interviewed Mario Andretti in 1971 as a corner reporter for ABC. Later struck up a friendship with Bobby Rahal after his 1986 Indy victory. In 1996, became part owner of the team owned by Rahal, which fields cars for drivers Vitor Meira, Danica Patrick and defending Indy 500 champion Buddy Rice.

CAR TALK: "Having grown up in Indianapolis and been in love with racing and its heroes for as long as I can remember, it's literally a dream come true for me to become this much a part of a sport that has meant so much to me."

LIKELIHOOD HE'LL BE HERE: Unsure. He didn't attend in 2003 when Michel Jourdain Jr. ran in the CART race for Rahal Letterman here, but he has family in St. Petersburg and sometimes makes late plans.