BUSCH: Amick gets state support

Amick gets state backing MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (Jan. 30, 1998) South Carolina Governor David M. Beasley unveiled the state's newest marketing tool Friday when he premiered the "South Carolina race car" -- Team Amick's No. 35 NASCAR Busch...

Amick gets state backing

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (Jan. 30, 1998) South Carolina Governor David M. Beasley unveiled the state's newest marketing tool Friday when he premiered the "South Carolina race car" -- Team Amick's No. 35 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Pontiac -- at the NASCAR Cafe.

The car is a partnership between SCANA Corporation, Team Amick Motorsports and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. It prominently features the words "South Carolina" on the hood of the No. 35 Pontiac of driver Lyndon Amick.

The car will make its debut during Speedweeks 1998 at Daytona International Speedway, in preparation for the season-opening NAPA Auto Parts 300 on Feb. 14.

"This public/private partnership means we'll get nationwide exposure for our great state without spending a dime of taxpayers' money," Governor Beasley said. "What could be better than cheering for our own race car and promoting South Carolina in front of millions of NASCAR fans at the same time?"

Amick, 20, made his debut in the NASCAR Busch Series in 1997, running a limited, 15-race schedule with an unsponsored car. The 1996 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series champion finished 42nd in the points in his initial season in the NASCAR Busch Series, with a career-best finish of 15th at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

"Getting this sponsorship deal put together is a huge load off this team," Amick said. "It frees us up to do a lot of things; it takes the financial pressure off; and it brings a lot of confidence to the team. To have an entire state behind you, the state I grew up in, is awesome.

"I think we've got a lot of things to look forward to this year. We were seventh quickest in testing at Daytona, so I think we've got a really good shot at breaking the top-five in qualifying for the race and maybe for a top-five finish. We can't wait to get there."

Another reason for the team's optimism is the addition of Gary DeHart as the crew chief. DeHart was the crew chief for Terry Labonte's NASCAR Winston Cup championship team in 1996.

SCANA Corp., based in Columbia, S.C., and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce are also sponsors of the South Carolina race car and will have their logos displayed. SCANA, an electricity, natural gas and telecommunications service company doing business for 150 years in South Carolina, became a sponsor of the race car as a way of marketing the company's services and promoting a positive image of the state, said SCANA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Timmerman.

"NASCAR fan loyalty is no secret," Timmerman said. "An unprecedented 73 percent of race car fans support the products and companies that sponsor their favorite race team. By sponsoring the South Carolina race car, SCANA has an excellent opportunity to reach a large number of our customers and potential customers."

For Myrtle Beach, the car is an exciting way to keep the state's leading tourism destination in the public eye.

"The visitors who come to Myrtle Beach and NASCAR fans are one in the same," said Ashby Ward, president of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. "The two Carolinas are home to NASCAR."

Team Amick Motorsports will make its first South Carolina appearance on March 21 at Darlington Raceway in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200. It will also appear at Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturday, July 11 and at Darlington again on September 5.

A South Carolina show car will be available for parades and festivals. An advisory committee, including the South Carolina Department of Park, Recreation and Tourism, will help approve the promotional use of the car.

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Series NASCAR-NS