BUSCH: Bessey inks sponsor for Daytona

(Chester, Conn.) -- Whelen Engineering's tradition of sponsoring some of the Northeast's best NASCAR drivers continues next month at Daytona International Speedway, when Joe Bessey pilots the ...

(Chester, Conn.) -- Whelen Engineering's tradition of sponsoring some of the Northeast's best NASCAR drivers continues next month at Daytona International Speedway, when Joe Bessey pilots the #6 Whelen Pontiac in the Feb. 17 Busch Series race. The Chester, Connecticut-based company has been an associate sponsor for Bessey's Winston Cup team since 1999.

"To go down to Daytona and run as well as we did and then have Whelen come on board gives us a lot of confidence about the race," said Bessey who posted one of the top times in both days of January testing on the 2.5-mile tri-oval. "This is the best I have ever felt going to Daytona and we hope we can bring home great results for Whelen."

Bessey, of Scarborough, Maine, is no stranger to Victory Lane winning races in ARCA, Busch North, and the Busch series. He also notched two top-10 finishes in only four career NASCAR Truck series starts. In 1998, he curtailed his driving career in order to focus on his start-up effort as full-time owner in the Winston Cup series. That effort, which completed two full seasons in Winston Cup in 1999 and 2000, also produced top-five and top-ten results. Bessey made his own Winston Cup debut as a driver at New Hampshire International Speedway in 2000. He finished 27th in his only Winston Cup race.

Bessey's return to Daytona marked his tenth anniversary at that track. He began his driving career in the Busch Series in 1991 where he finished 14th.

Whelen Engineering has provided innovative emergency lighting and siren products in the automotive, aviation, industrial, civil defense and traffic management markets. The company has sponsored Northeast racing starts including Bessey, Steve Park, Andy Santerre, Dennis Demers and Ted Christopher.

"Our employees take great pride in the fact that we have helped so many drivers from our own backyard," said Motorsports Director Phil Kurze. "NASCAR is a great sport and enables our company to play a role and help out our community. A lot of people call NASCAR a deep South sport but a lot of us up in the Northeast take pride in our involvement."

The one-race agreement with Bessey is just a preview of Whelen's involvement in the 2001 season. Whelen plans to once-again sponsor Steve Park and his Ted Marsh Racing team in 11 Busch races during the year.

Park, the fourth-year driver of Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s #1 Monte Carlo, won three Busch Series races in 1997 on his way to the Rookie of the Year award as well as a third place finish in the points standings driving for DEI. Park earned his first Winston Cup victory at Watkins Glen in 2000. Last season also saw Park drive the #31 Whelen Monte Carlo to several top finishes.

"We had a lot of ups and downs, but I think you saw last year that when we have our act together we can be a pretty tough team," said Park describing his Busch effort. "I think with a year's experience, we will have more ups than downs. Maybe Joe can get a Whelen car into Victory Lane at Daytona and then we can have something to aim for the rest of the season."

Sponsoring drivers and teams isn't Whelen's only motorsports involvement. Whelen's activities also include:

* The official supplier of safety lights for Pontiac's NASCAR Winston Cup pace cars.

* Whelen's emergency warning lights are also visible on the Official NASCAR safety vehicles as well as the safety vehicles used at Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Watkins Glen International, Darlington Raceway, New Hampshire International Speedway and most of the remaining race tracks that host Busch Series and Winston Cup events. Whelen emergency warning lights are also used on the pace cars for SCCA, IRL, and CART events as well as the World of Outlaws pace truck.

* Whelen is also involved with the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, providing track safety lights for race management to NASCAR sanctioned short tracks throughout the United States.

-Drew Brown

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About this article
Series Automotive , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Steve Park , Drew Brown