Homestead: BelCar Racing season finale notes

BelCar Racing Just One Step Away From Reaching Goals HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 12, 2003) -- As the Winston Cup teams hit the Homestead-Miami Speedway for today's open test session and final event of the year; the No. 54 National Guard...

BelCar Racing Just One Step Away From Reaching Goals

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 12, 2003) -- As the Winston Cup teams hit the Homestead-Miami Speedway for today's open test session and final event of the year; the No. 54 National Guard Ford is just one step away from reaching goals set by its Co-Owner, Sam Belnavis. Belnavis and Travis Carter formed BelCar Racing at the start of the season. Their partnership put into action, the first minority-owned team in NASCAR's 55-year history to run a full schedule in the series' premiere division.

"It has been a very rewarding experience for me," said Belnavis, the majority shareholder of BelCar Racing. "At the start of the season, I set a few goals for this team. I believe we have accomplished what we set out to do. I wanted this National Guard team to be respectable in the garage and on the track. I think we certainly accomplished that goal." To date, car 54 has acquired 17 top-25, five top-15 and one top-10 finishes.

"Second, I wanted our National Guard car to help strengthen the recruitment and retention efforts of our advertiser," continued Belnavis. "BelCar Racing is proud to represent the efforts of over 350,000 men and women who are working hard during these peacekeeping times both here and abroad. We've had the privilege of meeting many National Guard members all across the country. It's wonderful to hear how they are glad to have a car on the race track week in and week out. For that, I believe we have accomplished that particular goal.

"And finally, for me, being an African-American, this year I wanted to expose other members of my community to this sport. The feedback I have received is amazing. It seems wherever I go, people want to shake my hand for what this team is doing and the story that's being told. Personally, it is very rewarding to me."

Belnavis's love for NASCAR can be traced back over 20 years when he was an executive with Miller Brewing Company. Over time, the Charlotte, N.C., resident has been involved in several significant industry sponsorships. He is credited for bringing Miller into racing when he signed NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Bobby Allison to drive the No. 22 Miller High Life Buick. He hopes to continue to share his devotion for American's number one spectator sport by exposing NASCAR to a more diverse audience.

"I realize that I am not the sole person currently bringing diversity into NASCAR," elaborated Belnavis. "I commend the efforts of NASCAR, its partnership with Access Marketing and Communications as well as the program being developed by my fellow car owner, Joe Gibbs. I truly believe our combined efforts are what's going to help bridge the gap between the sport and the African-American community.

"What I will continue to strive for as we end one era and embark on a new age of NASCAR is continue to be a voice within this collective effort. If I can help introduce new fans and new employees to this great sport, I will be happy. If I can take the time to talk to youngsters about our racing, it will make me happy too because that's where it all starts. There is no doubt in my mind that NASCAR is not even close to maximizing its audience potential. With that, I eagerly await the start of the 2004 Nextel Cup season."

-bcr-

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Allison