Patrick Dempsey: Living in the Fast Lane

The Grey's Anatomy hunk drives for the Hyper Sport team

He may not be as light-headed as Will Ferrell’s Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights, but Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey has a need for speed.

The ABC show’s “Dr. McDreamy” – who finds racing “a really great release for me” – drives as part of the Hyper Sport team.

“I come back appreciating my day job so much more,” the actor, 40, tells TV’s Entertainment Tonight. “I find that I work harder and I am clear mentally going into it.”

His racing career got rolling, Dempsey says, when “My wife (Jillian) got tired of me sitting on the couch on Sundays watching the Speed Channel and said, ‘Get up and go do a Skip Barber racing program for three days.’ That started the bug.”

Barber, a Formula One driver who competed in the ’70s, runs what is billed as the world’s premier driving and racing school in Connecticut.

Dempsey’s No. 54 Ford Mustang is sponsored by the women’s clothing firm New York & Company, for which he and Grey’s costar Ellen Pompeo had done an ad campaign.

“It shows what a wonderful company New York & Company is to think outside the box to put their label and their belief into this race team,” Dempsey says.

New York & Company is also sponsoring a contest on its Web site in which the grand-prize winner will be flown to Virginia to watch the 2006 Grand Am Championship finale – and spend time with Dempsey. The deadline for entering is Sept. 4.

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