BUSCH: Homestead: HRT, Contreras preview

Carlos Contreras makes his Busch Series debut with the Hispanic Racing Team. CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Nov. 13, 2002) - The NASCAR Busch Grand National Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend may be the series finale, but it's also the...

Carlos Contreras makes his Busch Series debut with the Hispanic Racing Team.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Nov. 13, 2002) - The NASCAR Busch Grand National Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend may be the series finale, but it's also the scene of new beginnings for the Hispanic Racing Team (HRT) Motorsports.

The first Hispanic-owned and -sponsored team will try once again to field its first Hispanic driver in this weekend's Ford 300. The HRT Motorsports No. 09 CICLÓN Energy Drink/Children International Chevrolet will be piloted by Carlos Contreras, a Mexico native, who is also competing in the weekend's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event.

A qualifying rain-out at Atlanta, a sponsor decision not to run Phoenix and a last-minute driver change have all been unfortunate circumstances, but now the team hopes to find a little extra luck on its home turf. It's appropriate that the team will try again for the NASCAR milestone at the very track where it first debuted, in November 1999.

Contreras will be looking for a strong start in his first Busch series race after finishing up his successful truck career. He'll have the extra motivation of racing for Children International, an associate sponsor of the NO. 09 this weekend. The organization gives needy children in Hispanic countries hope and help. Contreras and the two co-owners of HRT have all signed on to sponsor children through the program.

More than one-quarter of the fans at Homestead-Miami this weekend are expected to be Hispanic, and Contreras and Vazquez are doing what they can to bring their excitement to their fans. The two will appear on UNIVISION throughout race weekend, including on three of the top-rated shows (Despierta Americana, Primer Impacto and Sabado Gigante). So before heading off to Miami for this weekend's Ford 300, Contreras shared his thoughts on the excitement of starting something new and all those fans who will be watching.

Driver Carlos Contreras' thoughts - You've driven at Homestead several times in your truck. Have you done much testing or practice in a Busch car before? "It's very exciting to be here. I've driven the trucks before, but this is my very first time in a Busch car. So I'm a little bit nervous! But I think we'll be OK. I don't think the transition from my truck to the car will be all that difficult. And I have lots of extra practice since I'm running both this weekend, plenty of time to get the car ready and the way I like it."

You'll be appearing on UNIVISION's top-rated morning show and other programs this weekend. What will it mean to you to be racing with the first Hispanic team, on home turf with so many Hispanic fans cheering for you? "It's very important for me, my family and for all Hispanics and Latinos. It's real exciting to know that for my first Busch race I'll be racing with an all-Hispanic team. It's HRT's first race as all-Hispanic, and my first Busch race, so there's a lot of happiness, excitement and nerves, too. There are a lot of people who will be watching us and a lot of fans cheering us on. We don't want to disappoint anyone."

Tell us a little about the child you sponsored through Children International. "Yan Luis is five and he's from the Dominican Republic. They've told me that his favorite pastime is playing with race cars, so that's especially appropriate for him to be matched him with me. He and his family don't have electricity or running water. So it's great to know that for just $15 a month, my sponsorship funds are helping to bring him and his family hope."

ABOUT HRT MOTORSPORTS: HRT Motorsports was established in 1999 in order to add diversity and create a new fan base within NASCAR. HRT Motorsports is the first Hispanic-owned, -sponsored and -driven NASCAR team. HRT maximizes its sponsors' demographic reach and fan-potential on three continents by enlisting well-known auto-racing personalities within the Hispanic community: Carlos Contreras, Roberto Guerrero and brother, Jaime. HRT's Hispanic drivers are joining forces for the first time, bringing their experience and dedicated fan base to America's speedways. www.hrtmotorsports.com

-hrt-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR-NS