The Petersen Automotive Museum’s “Race, Rock ‘n Rally” gala held on Oct. 24 was the most exciting in the history of the museum. A trio of world famous “car guys” were honored for automotive endeavors as diverse as the Petersen’s audience, including Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor and race car driver, Patrick Dempsey, Grammy winning guitarist and car lover, Jeff Beck and World Rally Championship driver and internet sensation, Ken Block.
The event kicked off with many of Los Angeles’ most prominent families walking the red carpet with photography sponsored by Hasselblad, followed by a cocktail hour featuring local band, The Surf City All-Stars. The Gala was MC’d by Bob Varsha, who began the charity auction after dinner was served. Highlight auction items included a wheel from Block’s “Gymkhana 4” video (a viral hit with over 24 million views), two Fender guitars, each signed by Jeff Beck and a race suit worn by Patrick Dempsey. Money raised will support the educational programming at the Petersen – every year the museum hosts 15,000 children on field trips and the Robert E. Petersen Free School Bus Program pays for the buses for underserved schools.
A highlight of the evening was a performance by Jeff Beck, his violinist Lizzie Ball and guitarist Nicholas Meier to close the gala after the honorees were recognized. “It was a magnificent night,” said Terry Karges, executive director of the Petersen. “Love for the automobile is the common thread that brings us all together, which is why we wanted to honor a trio of gentleman whose automotive passions are diverse. The evening raised significant funds for our educational programming, which is something that was very close to the heart of Robert E. Petersen, the museum’s founder.”
Patrick Dempsey, a multi-talented race car driver who is also an Emmy nominated actor known for his roles in Grey’s Anatomy and Sweet Home Alabama was honored with the Petersen Automotive Enthusiast Award for his racing career. “This is what I love to do more than anything else–we are so fortunate because we get to follow our passion and affect people. The educational aspect of the Petersen is what’s so important. Kids can come here to interact with cars and be transformed–to dream and to live those dreams out. It’s just the coolest thing in the world,” said Dempsey.
Ken Block, the successful rally driver with Hoonigan Racing Division and internet sensation known for his Gymkhana video series was also honored with the Petersen Automotive Inspiration Award for inspiring a younger audience of enthusiasts. “I’ve always been chasing a dream–never did I realize that I would be honored with this sort of thing down the line. I’ve been able to reach a younger generation of kids–able to bring a style of driving that is different to the US and represent it in a positive way. It’s been beyond my expectations,” said Block.
Jeff Beck, a seven-time Grammy award winner, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member and number five on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Guitar Players was honored with the Petersen Automotive Artisan Award for his work as a hot rod collector and builder. “Thank you to the Petersen for this amazing award,” said Beck.