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NASCAR's Burton, Vickers hit the Hollywood scene

February 18, 2009 |  7:00 pm

Jeff Burton Like so many out-of-towners, some NASCAR drivers can't visit Southern California without a swing through Hollywood.

Jeff Burton, for instance, is among the drivers racing in Sunday's Auto Club 500 in Fontana.

But he's also scheduled for a Thursday taping on the ABC soap opera “General Hospital.” He'll appear in scenes with actor and racing fan Jason Thompson, who plays Dr. Patrick Drake on the show. Thompson, in turn, will be Burton’s guest Sunday at Auto Club Speedway.

“I’ve been in commercials and was a guest star on a sitcom a couple of years ago, so I’m hoping those appearances prepped me for my soap opera debut,” Burton said. “Luckily, I get to play myself and talk racing, which will help take some of the pressure off.”

Brian Vickers, meanwhile, is scheduled to dine Thursday night on the set of another TV show, “Hell’s Kitchen,” a Fox series starring chef Gordon Ramsay.

Vickers is coming off his own hellish moment in last Sunday’s Daytona 500, when his collision with Dale Earnhardt Jr. caused a huge crash that took out Vickers, Kyle Busch and several other top contenders.

Other drivers making scheduled appearances in the area, albeit not on TV shows, include Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth, who will sign autographs at 11 a.m. on Thursday in Century City.

Two-time Cup champion Tony Stewart plans an autograph session from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday at the Rancho Cucamonga location of Office Depot, one of his sponsors.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Jeff Burton during practice Feb. 13 for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Credit: John Raoux/Associated Press