Cross-Country Bullrun Brings Celebs To Town

There was quite the assortment of major car enthusiasts in town the past couple of days — hanging out downtown at the House of Blues and at Rick Mancuso’s Lake Forest Sportscars in Lake Bluff. It was all part of this week’s coast-to-coast Bullrun 2006 road rally, with an eclectic crew of celebs (Paris Hilton, Dennis Rodman, Mario Andretti, Patrick Dempsey, Helena Christensen, Corey Feldman and Corey Haim) competing against drivers who really are experienced participants in this unique motor sport event.

The best-known folks to swing through Chicago were former Olympic champion Carl Lewis — a fast man in a fast car — and “Star Wars” star Hayden Christensen, participating in his second Bullrun.

Lewis, whose dad, William, is a Chicago native, appreciated the irony that his strategy on the track runs counter to that for road rallying. “You can’t be the hare. You have to be a fast tortoise,” quipped Lewis as he gave this column a look at his Dutch-made Spyker C8 Spyder sports car. “They start at $275,000 … they only make 100 models each year.”

*Christensen, who will next be seen in “Factory Girl” with Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce and Jimmy Fallon; “Awake” with Lena Olin and Jessica Alba, and “Guilty Pleasures” with Mischa Barton and Tim Roth, says, “I’ve got the bug now. I’m totally hooked” on road rallying. “Last year was fun, but we didn’t get the chance to go coast to coast. … This is so much better” — despite a series of mishaps along the way. Along with a few mechanical glitches, the former Anakin Skywalker did pick up a couple of speeding tickets (the bane of the road ralliers’ existence), but “that’s all part of the learning curve.”

Best way to describe the whole Bullrun experience? “A week of fun. A lot of freedom and adventure — it’s boys playing with their toys,” Christensen said.

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