BUSCH: Team Rensi to make Winston Cup debut at Atlanta

(Mooresville, NC, February 28, 2003) -- It's true and it's official! Team Rensi Motorsports will make their NASCAR Winston Cup debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend in the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 with driver, Bobby Hamilton, Jr., who...

(Mooresville, NC, February 28, 2003) -- It's true and it's official! Team Rensi Motorsports will make their NASCAR Winston Cup debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend in the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 with driver, Bobby Hamilton, Jr., who pilots the team's No. 25 Marines Ford Taurus in the NASCAR Busch Series.

Hamilton, Jr. will compete in the No. 35 Ford Taurus, which will have a very familiar look. Both of Team Rensi's current advertising partners will be featured on the car. The United States Marine Corps as the primary advertising partner and the Timberland Company (on behalf of its Timberland PRO series) as associate advertising partner.

Hamilton, Jr. is no stranger to the Winston Cup Series. Since his debut in 2000, he has competed 12 times in the series. In 2001, he posted three top-15 and five top-20 Winston Cup finishes. He has NEVER failed to qualify for a Winston Cup event, something very few people can brag about.

"I am looking forward to competing again in the Winston Cup Series," said Hamilton, Jr. " Atlanta seemed like the obvious place to all of us. It's early enough in the season and it occurs during one of the Busch Series off weekends. We are running for a championship and we don't want to interfere or take our focus away from that, so doing this on an off-weekend was important to us. This is a way for us to test the waters of the Winston Cup Series without the pressure of worrying about points."

The team tested at Atlanta on February 18-19, and according to Fred Wanke, Hamilton, Jr.'s crew chief, it was a good learning experience.

"We gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from the Atlanta test," said Wanke. "This is a brand new car that we worked on over the off season, so we learned a lot about what the car could do and what adjustments worked well and what did not. We left the test knowing that we could come back down here for the race and be competitive. We feel pretty sure that we'll be able to run in the top-15, and we would go home happy with that kind of finish."

Sam Rensi, co-owner of Team Rensi Motorsports, is looking forward to seeing how his team stacks up against the competition but is very realistic in his expectations.

"We are excited about our first endeavor in motorsports most prestigious venue, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series," said Rensi. "This will be our first opportunity to test the waters of the series and see what happens. Bobby, Fred and all of the crew have done such an outstanding job for us in the Busch Series that it made sense to us to take a small step forward and enter a Winston Cup event. Our expectations are to make the race, have a solid run and a strong finish.

We are very happy to have the United States Marine Corps and Timberland Pro join us in this endeavor," added Rensi. "Their support of the race team has helped us get to this point. We are grateful for the support of 180,000 Marines around the world who defend the principles of this country and allow us to exercise our personal freedoms. We also appreciate Timberland who makes great Timberland PRO work gear for the everyday workers who keeps our equipment running, plants our corn, builds our cars and makes the parts that keep the world moving."

The 2003 season marks the United States Marine Corps' fourth year of involvement in NASCAR and their third with Team Rensi Motorsports, owned by Ed and Sam Rensi and Gary Weisbaum.

Timberland partnered with Team Rensi at the beginning of this season as associate advertising partner of the No. 25 Team Marines Ford Taurus.

The No. 35 Team Marines Timberland Pro Ford Taurus will take the checkered flag on March 9, 2003 at 1pm.

-trm-

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Series NASCAR XFINITY