For actor Patrick Dempsey, racing cars is nearly a full-time job

Racing is 'my real passion,' says 'Grey's Anatomy' star Patrick Dempsey at Indy

Actor Patrick Dempsey has no plans to leave his leading role on the television series "Grey's Anatomy," but Dempsey's commitment to racing cars only keeps growing.

"This is becoming more full-time than it is part-time," Dempsey said in an interview before driving his Porsche 911 GT at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday.

Dempsey, 48, is a driver and co-owner of a race team, Dempsey Racing, that competes in the sports-car series called the Tudor United SportsCar Championship.

The series holds races, such as the one at Indy, in which four classes of cars race at the same time. Dempsey raced in the series' GTD division and he split the driving duties with his teammate Andrew Davis. They finished ninth in their division Friday.

Dempsey last month also raced for the second consecutive year in the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in France, and the actor estimated he's now driven in 86 races overall.

Racing "is becoming all-consuming," Dempsey said. "It's my real passion."

So it's a matter of balancing his time between acting and driving, said Dempsey, whose love of racing started with his father, who raced on short tracks in Maryland. The two also would watch the Indianapolis 500 and other races on television while Dempsey was growing up.

Now, Dempsey's acting contract includes a provision "that I'm allowed to race," he said.

As for the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway, did Dempsey enjoy driving down its famous front straightaway with the grandstands hugging the track on both sides?

"It's great to be at Indy," he said. But Dempsey said he's too busy behind the wheel to spend much time enjoying the track's aesthetic appeal.

"There's so much traffic" in the race "that situational awareness is very important," he said. "The competition level is just so tight."

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