BRANT MOTORSPORTS TAKING STOCK IN PEP BOYS IRL New team has strong ties with legendary NASCAR Winston Cup owner Childress INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 21, 1998 -- The first thing that strikes you is the black paint scheme, shiny and deep and so...
BRANT MOTORSPORTS TAKING STOCK IN PEP BOYS IRL New team has strong ties with legendary NASCAR Winston Cup owner Childress
INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 21, 1998 -- The first thing that strikes you is the black paint scheme, shiny and deep and so very familiar. The Brant Motorsports No. 31 entry for the 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League season will turn some heads over the next few months, because it promises to bring some new faces and familiar names to the league. Brant Motorsports consists of Ted and Bob Brant, along with Bob Adkins. The Brants operate Aero Services, a Virginia-based company that provides aviation services. Second-year Pep Boys IRL driver Andy Michner signed as the team's driver for 1999. Aero Services has been involved with the NASCAR Winston Cup team of Richard Childress for several years, and they hope to recruit the six-time Winston Cup champion car owner to be a part of their effort. "We have been involved as an associate sponsor with Richard for a long time, and we've developed a very good relationship with him," said Bob Brant. "We've enjoyed guidance from him, he's been a tremendous asset. "He helped us put our team together, and he is interested in watching this whole thing develop." Childress confirmed that the Pep Boys IRL has intrigued him for some time. "Bob and his brother Ted, they've talked with me on several occasions on getting more involved with their team," said Childress, whose black Chevrolets have become a Winston Cup icon with driver Dale Earnhardt. "At some point I will probably want to have some involvement, but we're still talking. "We might want to take a look at (Brant's) engine-building program, we have a lot of capabilities in that area. It's possible we could build IRL engines at some point ? but we're not at that point now. "I'll know a lot more after we talk in January or February." Aero Services began its involvement in the Pep Boys IRL last May, when it became an associate sponsor with the Riley & Scott team. "We were really excited about the experience at Indy, and even though we missed the race, it was quite a rush, just being involved," said Bob Brant. "We had a long-term interest in team ownership, and as last summer progressed we began talking with the R&S people about making the transition to ownership." During the offseason, the team is busy preparing for the season-opening TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200 on Jan. 24 at Walt Disney World Speedway. Michner posted a top speed of 162.727 mph at the league's recent Open Test at Walt Disney World. "I just can't wait to get the season started, we're really excited about getting going," said Bob Brant. The team will use a Riley & Scott chassis, Aurora engines and Goodyear tires. "When we watched Andy (Michner) during the last half of the season last year, we were impressed with him," Bob Brant said. "At Texas he came from 24th to lead the race. He's aggressive, but he uses a lot of intelligence in the car. "We feel really lucky to get him, because it looked like he was going to go stock car racing, but then he became available again. He's a great kid, and we're all looking forward to having him in our car." In addition to Aero Services, Brant expects to land other sponsors as well. "We're about 50 percent of where we want to be in terms of sponsorship," he said. "We're working with a couple of additional aviation-related companies, working with the relationships we have in that industry. We're not ready to release anything, but we're very comfortable with where we are. Brant talked of the coming season with genuine enthusiasm. "One of the things we enjoyed so much last year was that the racing was so close, just terrific," Brant said. "Charlotte at night, that was just a great race. It's fun when it is competitive, you really get a lot of excitement going." Childress admitted that the VisionAire 500 at Charlotte helped grab his interest as well. "I was really impressed at Charlotte, they put on a heck of a show and really got my attention," Childress said. "We had sponsored Greg Ray down there a little bit, so I was already kind of interested. "I hope to get to a couple of their races again this season, that would be fun." Brant is optimistic that the team can find a way to get Childress officially involved. "Richard thought we were on the right path when we suggested our (black) paint program," Brant said with a laugh. "He was excited. Plus, this kind of thing appeals to a lot of crossover fans. "The IRL attracts a lot of Winston Cup fans throughout the season, as the summer goes on. That's the kind of thing we can really use in our marketing efforts." Source: IRL/IMS
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