HRT puts Contreras in No. 09 Ciclon Car at Homestead.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Nov. 11, 2002) -- The Hispanic Racing Team (HRT Motorsports) has made a last-minute decision to put Carlos Contreras in its No. 09 CICLON Energy Drink car. Contreras will drive the car at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 16, replacing Roberto Guerrero, for the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series season finale.
Contreras was originally signed last month by HRT to run a full schedule in 2003 in the No. 41 car. The driver change means Contreras will pull double duty at Homestead as he finishes his truck season and starts his Busch series career. Contreras has run the past two seasons in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with Petty Enterprises.
HRT co-owner Mike Vazquez said a series of unfortunate circumstances led to replacing Guerrero for the team's final race of the season.
"Unfortunately, the rainout at Atlanta and out sponsor's last-minute decision not to run Phoenix put a damper on our plans," Vazquez said. "We had hoped to get Roberto in at least two races this year and that just didn't happen. Many things were in the mix in ultimately making this decision. After signing Carlos, we got many requests from potential sponsors who were looking to see him in a Busch race before committing. We also couldn't squeeze in a test for Roberto in Homestead, yet Carlos has already raced there and will benefit from the additional practice time during the week.
"We know Roberto is upset, as he should be and as we all are for him, but he is a team player and understands the greater cause, which is getting HRT's Hispanic NASCAR program off the ground," Vazquez continued.
In the meantime, the first and only Hispanic-owned, -sponsored and -driven team in NASCAR will forge ahead to Miami, a key Hispanic market where almost one-quarter of the fans are Hispanic. Contreras, a native of Mexico, is looking forward to giving the fans a "hometown favorite" to cheer for.
"Mike and Rudy came to me just a few days ago with the opportunity to run Homestead-Miami Speedway, and to be honest, I couldn't sleep that night," Contreras said. "I can't wait to run my first Busch series race. It is going to be a little crazy running from Truck practice to Busch practice, then qualifying back to back, but it's what I have been waiting for."
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
ABOUT CICLÓN INTERNATIONAL S.A.
Founded in 1996, produced in Austria and now headquartered in Panama City, Panama with sales and marketing in Puerto Rico, CICLÓN Energy Drink is fortified with vitamins C, B2, B6, and B12. CICLÓN Energy Drink launched in Puerto Rico last year and was No. 1 in its category within only seven months. CICLÓN thinks global and acts local in both their sales and marketing approach, making HRT Motorsports and NASCAR obvious partners. www.ciclon.com