Longtime Petersen/ White Lightning Partner Westward Ho Casino Closes Doors
LAS VEGAS, Nev., November 17, 2005 -- Longtime Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing marketing partner, Westward Ho Casino, will officially close its doors at 5 PM (local time) today. Located on the world famous Las Vegas Strip, the Westward Ho Casino has been a hallmark of the Vegas scene for decades as one of its leading casinos and hotels. The familiar Westward*Ho Casino / Las Vegas logo- as seen above- has adorned Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing entries from Baja to Le Mans since the late 1980s when Mike Petersen (Las Vegas and Southern Calif.) and Dale White (Bozeman, Mo.) joined to create the team. The 2006 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season-opening event will mark the first time Westward Ho will not be emblazoned on the side of the team's car. Petersen/ White Lightning carried the Westward Ho banner to the ALMS GT2 Driver, Team and IMSA Cup Championships as well as five race victories including Sebring and Petit Le Mans in 2005.
"We have had a great relationship with the Westward Ho Casino since Dale and I started this team," commented Mike Petersen, a vice-president of the Westward Ho. "I think for all of us at Petersen/ White Lightning, it will be a little different not having the Casino on the side of our car next season. A race weekend didn't go by where someone didn't find me to tell me about a visit to the Casino. So, I know that our racing program made a good impact on the Casino. The team and the Westward Ho are linked in people's minds and I am proud of that. At the same time, we're looking forward to creating a new link with a new marketing partner in '06."
Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing, based in Las Vegas, was founded in 1989 and became one of the most successful off-road truck operations in history with championships in SODA, SCORE and SNORE, over 50 wins, 80 podiums and four consecutive class victories in both the Baja 1000 and Baja 500 (overall titles in 1995, '96 and '97). Looking for a new challenge, the team moved to sports car racing in the '90s. Since entering sports car racing fulltime, Petersen/ White Lightning race cars not only swept the GT2 class championships in the ALMS this season but have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans GT class (now GT2) twice (2003, '04), the 12 Hours of Sebring ('05), the Petit Le Mans ('05), the Monterey Sports Car Championship ('05), the 24 Hours of Daytona ('01), the Six hours of The Glen ('98), a total of six ALMS races as well as three SCCA World Challenge events and a Trans-Am Series race. Utilizing Porsche specialist Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) and American Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) in 2005, the team won 50% of the ALMS races, earned podium finishes at nine of ten events and finished second in its third appearance at Le Mans.
One of the longest-running casinos in Las Vegas, the Westward Ho was a favorite of Las Vegas visitors and locals, heralding back to the Las Vegas of the past. However, time marches forward and the Westward Ho Casino was recently sold and will meet the same fate, at the hands of a demolition team, of many of the great casinos on The Strip in the coming weeks.
"The Casino has been a big part of my life since I was a kid," continued Petersen. "I have worked nearly every job there is there. So, watching the doors locked for the first, and last, time is going to be tough. Business opportunities are business opportunities and this is something that just made sense for the Westward Ho. We're all looking forward to moving on while remembering the successful past we had together."
More on Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing can be found at www.PetersenMotorsports.com. Learn more about Porsche at www.Porsche.com.