IRL: Local teams racing at Texas in June

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (May 17, 2000) - There's no place like home. Just ask three racing teams based in the Fort Worth-Dallas area that are sponsoring entries in the June 9 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Pronto Auto Parts 400 and the June 10 Indy ...

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (May 17, 2000) - There's no place like home. Just ask three racing teams based in the Fort Worth-Dallas area that are sponsoring entries in the June 9 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Pronto Auto Parts 400 and the June 10 Indy Racing Northern Light Series Casino Magic 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The trio of north Texas racing teams is anxiously awaiting the opportunity to race in their own backyard.

Sonntag Racing, based out of Little Elm, Texas, and TKO Motorsports from Saginaw, Texas, have entries in the truck series. TeamXtreme fields two cars in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series. While most truck teams are located in North Carolina and most Indy car ventures are based in Indianapolis, these three Texas teams are settled in the Lone Star state.

"We feel it is an advantage for us to be based here," TKO's Todd Meyer said of his team based in Saginaw, just south of the speedway. "There are plenty of resources and ideas to draw from in this market to be successful. And, we can hire the people we want and not have to worry about losing them to other teams that might be next door to us."

Veteran Randy Renfrow drives the #41 Dodge for TKO and has been among the top 20 in points for most of the season.

To the east of Texas Motor Speedway is Sonntag Racing in the small town of Little Elm. Team owner Joe Sonntag supports the venture with sponsorship from his cement company, Sonntag Redi-mix. He admits it is a challenge to be able to run a full-time team on the truck series, but driver B.A. Wilson has been doing well in the #24 Chevrolet.

"Our goal is to be among the top 10 finishers each week," Sonntag says. "For a team like us, it is important to do that in order to get some exposure to potential sponsors. Being able to race at Texas Motor Speedway is huge for us. We only have two full time employees on the team. The rest are volunteers. So racing at home just helps a lot."

TeamXtreme will have two Indy cars entered in the Casino Magic 500, the #16 car driven by Davey Hamilton, and the #88 car driven by rookie Airton Dare. General Manager John Lopes of the Rockwall-based team has no second thoughts about operating the program from Texas.

"We like being in Texas," Lopes says. "In a way, we are a bit isolated from the racing norm, but we think it is good for the team. It wasn't long ago that no one knew who we were; now, there isn't a day that goes by that fans do not stop in the shop to visit."

These three teams, along with A.J. Foyt's Indy car operations in Houston, may be the trailblazers for other owners looking to locate race shops outside the norm. And all point to Texas Motor Speedway as an important element in the decision to base teams in Texas, and in particular the Fort Worth-Dallas area.

"We love having the opportunity to race at Texas Motor Speedway twice each year," Todd Meyer of TKO says. "There are a number of major industries and corporate resources in this area, and with a team like ours that does not have a sponsor, it is important for us to race here and do well. We want to show the community we are legitimate contenders."

Qualifying for the Casino Magic 500 and Pronto Auto Parts 400 will be on Thursday, June 8. Tickets are still available for both races as well as qualifying night by calling the Texas Motor Speedway ticket hotline at (817) 215-8500, going online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com or through local Ticketmaster locations.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , NASCAR Truck
Drivers Davey Hamilton , Airton Daré , A.J. Foyt