Actors find their 'Salvation' at Honda Indy Toronto

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TORONTO – Cast members of the new CBS drama “Salvation,” which is shot in Toronto and premiered last week, are among the newest Verizon IndyCar Series fans.

Four of the show’s stars spent the weekend at the Honda Indy Toronto along with the show’s director, Stuart Gillard, and Paul Peters, its production designer. “Salvation,” a suspense drama series that centers on the ramifications of an asteroid that will impact the earth in six months, premiered Wednesday on CBS and Global TV in Canada. Shooting will continue in Toronto for the next three weeks.

Santiago Cabrera, who was most recently in “Transformers: The Last Night”; Charlie Rowe, known for “Never Let Me Go,” “Red Band Society” and “The Golden Compass”; Jennifer Finnigan, known for her role on daytime drama “The Bold and the Beautiful”, and Jacqueline Byers, who recently played a groupie in the Showtime series, “Roadies,” are all at the track watching today’s race. On Saturday, Cabrera, Rowe and Byers took rides in the INDYCAR Experience two-seat Indy car.

“I have never been to a race before in my entire life,” said Byers. “It’s an energy I’ve never experienced before and, when you meet the crews and drivers, it’s such a welcoming community here.”

The two-seater ride, she added, “Took my breath away in probably the first few minutes.”

Byers was so fascinated by her experience on Saturday that she returned today with her grandfather, Ken Dallison, a noted automotive illustrator who has created the art for Indianapolis 500 program covers.

Arie Luyendyk, Jr. and Johnny ChristRowe is excited, too. The 21-year-old doesn’t have a driver’s license, so he didn’t know what to expect when he got in the two-seater.

“I’ve never been that fast before and the braking sends you forward. It was so much more physical than I thought it would be,” said Rowe. “It has inspired me to get my driver’s license.”

The stars are among a celebrity contingent this weekend at the Honda Indy Toronto that also includes Cindy Sampson, who stars with former Indy Lights driver Jason Priestley in the crime-solving series “Private Eyes”; Johnny Christ (shown at left after he took a two-seater ride with driver Arie Luyendyk Jr.), bassist for the rock band Avenged Sevenfold, playing on the same bill as Metallica tonight at Rogers Centre; Adam Henrique, a Toronto native and NHL player for the New Jersey Devils; and Mike Hoffman, the Kitchener, Ontario, native from the NHL’s Ottawa Senators who is slated to ride with Luyendyk in the Honda Fastest Seat in Sports two-seater to start the race.

Gillard, the “Salvation” director and a longtime racing fan, did some convincing to get his cast to attend the Honda Indy Toronto, but now all are declared INDYCAR devotees.

“Most of our cast have never been to a car race before and they were sort of reluctant,” Gillard said. “Now, they climbed in that race car and they all want to become race car drivers. It made them instant fans. It took that whole experience that they had only seen on television and made it very visceral and real.”

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