2012 London Olympics
Courtesy of: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
LONG BEACH, California, April 22. WE all know Jessica Hardy as an Olympic Gold medalist and world record holder. But, this past weekend, the Southern California native set out to prove that she could handle the wheel at the Celeb/Pro Toyota Grand Prix in Long Beach.

"They were teaching us to actually drive for real. It was still scary, you never get used to going 140 MPH in a car," Hardy told Swimming World.

Hardy raced a 1.97-mile looping course, set up along the streets of Long Beach, as part of the 39th annual Toyota Grand Prix. The race is something she remembers watching as a kid, and an opportunity she was excited to take on.

"It was something that wasn't even on my radar," she said. "But they called me up and I decided to do it ... even if it was a little out of my comfort zone."

Hardy's race had a little hiccup: she spun out, crashing her Toyota Scion into a wall. It wasn't a major crash, but Hardy admits she was shaken up.

"I was a little scared, but I think I'm good so far."

Check out race footage [from GazettesSports] of the race below. Don't miss Hardy's spin out/minor crash at the 1:44 mark: