TORRANCE, Calif., (Oct. 29, 2015) —
There will be stars as bright as the cars around them at Toyota’s 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show
display. Autograph and photo opportunities will be available at select times from Tuesday, November 3, through Thursday, November 5.
The celebrity sightings will begin immediately following Toyota’s press conference, which will be held from 10:00 to 10:20 a.m. on Tuesday, November 3.
Chief among the luminaries will be Rutledge Wood, who will emcee the press conference itself. Wood has been one of the co-hosts of Top Gear USA
on television’s History channel for the past four seasons. Earlier this year, he debuted on History’s Lost in Transmission
, in which he and his co-host George travel the country is search of America’s forgotten automotive classics in an attempt to tell their stories and get them back on the road for their deserving owners.
Wood also joined NBC Sports as a specialty motorsports reporter and NASCAR analyst in early 2015.
But Wood’s roots in motorsports go back many more years than that. His first experience in NASCAR came during his first job in entertainment: traveling with the NASCAR circuit for Country Music Television. Soon after, he was hired by Speed TV (now Fox Sports 1), where he worked for 10 seasons covering NASCAR. He was a correspondent for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pre-race show, NASCAR RaceDay
, and has hosted or co-hosted various NASCAR shows and events for Fox Sports, including Speed Road Tour Challenge
, NASCAR Smarts
, and NASCAR Live
, as well as the annual NASCAR Awards Banquet.
Rutledge Wood will be available for autographs, photos and interviews starting at 10:20 a.m. on Tuesday, November 3.
Also in attendance on Tuesday, November 3, will be Ryan Millen
, a member of the legendary
Millen racing family who is currently having a very successful season driving a 2015 Toyota RAV4 in the Rally America series.
Millen is the son of off-road racing and rally icon Rod Millen, and has a history with Toyota that stretches back to his childhood, including racing in the MTEG stadium series at the age of nine, racing an FJ Cruiser in the Baja 1000, and winning the Baja 1000 in a Toyota Tundra TRD Pro.
Like Wood, Millen will be available for photos and interviews beginning at 10:20 a.m. on Tuesday, November 3, immediately following Toyota’s press conference.
Drag racing pioneer Antron Brown
will also be available for autograph seekers following Toyota’s press conference.
Currently driving the Matco Tools Toyota in NHRA’s Top Fuel division, he is known for winning the 2012 Top Fuel championship and winning six Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event titles in 2014.
He is perhaps best known as a pioneer in the sport of drag racing, its first African-American champion. In February 2013, he was featured on NBC’s Today
show when he was named one of TheGrio.com’s list of 100 African-American industry, sports and community leaders. Later that year, he was honored—along with other renowned athletes like Terry Bradshaw, James Worthy, Dave Winfield and Nick Faldo—at the 28th
annual Great Sports Legends ceremony.
Rounding out the group of four celebrities who will be available following Toyota’s Tuesday, November 3, press conference will be professional bass fisherman Mike Iaconelli
Iaconelli was the 2003 Bassmaster Classic champion and, more pertinently, the 2006 Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year. Most recent among his many victories was his win at the 2014 Bassmaster Elites on the Delaware River.
Of Iaconelli, The New York Times
wrote, “He’s not one of the old-style fishermen. He is a fast-talking, intense, summa cum laude graduate of Rowan University.” Those qualities will all be on display at Toyota’s SEMA booth twice during the course of SEMA. In addition to appearing beginning at 10:20 a.m. on Tuesday, November 3, Iaconelli will make a return visit from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Wednesday, November 4.
On Thursday, November 5, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Toyota display visitors will be greeted by Gerald Swindle
, another legendary bassmaster and winner of the Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year title in 2004.
Swindle is often referred to as both “The G-Man” and “bass fishing’s funniest man.” His professional career began in April 1998, when he won the $150,000 first price at a Fishing League Worldwide event on Beaver Lake, Arkansas.
Six years later, Swindle achieved bass fishing’s highest accolade when he won the Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year title.
SEMA visitors can enjoy Swindle’s wit and wisdom on Thursday, November 5.
All of the stars—along with 16 Toyota specialty vehicles—can be found in the Toyota display booth (#24700) in Central Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center.