Drivers praise AutoZone announcement

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 5, 2003) -- AutoZone, the nation's leading auto parts retailer, announced this past Wednesday their title sponsorship of the NASCAR Elite Division. The Elite Division, which will now be re-named the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, consists of four individual racing series in four regions of the country -- Midwest, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest. The NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division features Late Model style cars competing on a variety of short tracks and superspeedways and serves as a feeder system to the NASCAR Grand National Division and NASCAR's three national series.

This is the first time in the history of NASCAR that a national company will sponsor all four Late Model tours under the same umbrella. The national and regional marketing presence will take this racing series to the next level and drivers on the Northwest and Southwest series greeted the news with excitement and praise.

Doug McCoun from Prunedale, Calif. has been a Southwest Series regular for the past decade. "I think the AutoZone deal is import for the series," McCoun said. "We have a store right behind our station and I hope the local retailers really get behind the program. Just being tied to a national company elevates our series."

Dan Holtz from Pacific Palisades, Calif. just finished his second year on the Southwest Series and praises the announcement by NASCAR and AutoZone. "A lot of us believe we can make it in the upper divisions," Holtz said. "With a new sponsor like AutoZone is will help us attract other sponsors to our program because they are so recognized. NASCAR and AutoZone together will be a great marketing vehicle."

Jim Pettit II from Prunedale, Calif. is coming off back to back seasons finishing third in the final standings on the Southwest Series. "I am in the process of trying to put a deal together for next season and this news is certainly going to help," Pettit said. "I will definitely gain the series at lot more attention."

Jeff Jefferson from Naches, Wash. is the newly-crowned Northwest Series champion and was on hand in New York for the announcement this week. "There was a lot of excitement surrounding the announcement," Jefferson said. "Everything that NASCAR is doing is moving this series in the right direction. The points fund and contingency sponsor programs this year was better then it ever has been and now with AutoZone coming onboard, it makes the Northwest series even more attractive."