RACE: Terri Popielarz prepares for Moroso's longest night

INDIANAPOLIS- Friday, December 8, 2000 - Terri Popielarz, formerly Hundertmark, will be driving at the "Longest Night of Moroso" 24-Hour SCCA event, December 29-31 at Moroso Motorsports Park in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The ...

INDIANAPOLIS- Friday, December 8, 2000 - Terri Popielarz, formerly Hundertmark, will be driving at the "Longest Night of Moroso" 24-Hour SCCA event, December 29-31 at Moroso Motorsports Park in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The Indianapolis-resident will be co-driving with Belinda Endress, of Newbury Park, California, and at least one other driver to be determined. The two Women's Global GT Series' (WGGTS) regulars will be in the # 07 Phoenix Autosports' Mazda RX-7 (ITS class) running BF Goodrich tires.

The race marks the second time that Popielarz will use the "Longest Night" as an effort to raise funding for Racing For Kids. She also used the endurance event for that purpose in 1999, her only other "Longest Night of Moroso" start. The # 07 will collect pledges for the number of laps that it completes in the grueling endurance event. All the money raised through the pledges will then be donated to Racing For Kids to go to the healthcare needs of needy children in the area. Those interested in making pledges to Racing For Kids for the "Longest Night" can email waterbug@bv.net for further information.

As the sole female spokesperson for Racing For Kids, Popielarz helps raise awareness of the health-care needs of children in the communities in which she races. Racing For Kids, has raised over $1.5 million since its creation.

The event is special for another reason as well. This will be the first time that Terri will get to work with husband Dave Popielarz at the track. Dave, crew chief for Mo Nunn's CART effort, will act as a crewmember for his wife. The Mazda RX-7 is no stranger to Dave as he wrenched on the cars in the late-1980s as a crewmember of the 1987 RX-7 entry that Tommy Kendall drove to an IMSA GTU title.

"I can't wait to work with Dave! I couldn't ask for a better crew! Dave worked for Tommy when they won the IMSA championship in this same kind of car," said Terri. "He has only seen me race once because his schedule always conflicts with mine. I am pretty excited to have him at the 'Longest Night' both as support and as a crewmember."

Popielarz and Endress have been rivals in the WGGTS for some time, each racing a full-season schedule in 2000. This will be the first time that the two team together on the track, though they have worked together multiple times in the past to promote the WGGTS off the track. Said Popielarz: "Belinda works hard and drives well. We get along on and off the track. I am looking forward to working with her as a teammate instead of a direct competitor."

The effort is being headed by Douglas Pirrotta of Phoenix Autosports, Inc. out of the team's Apopka, Florida headquarters. Phoenix will be competing in its third "Longest Night."

"The decision to put Terri and Belinda into a car together didn't have anything to do with gender," reflects Pirrotta on the choice of the two female drivers. "It was based on chemistry. Getting that right between the drivers and then with me and with the team is important. If you don't like each other before a 24-hour event it isn't going to get any better by the end. We all seem to have the chemistry and I have never met two people that work so hard. They both have the talent to back it all up. I feel like we have a great team going into the 'Longest Night.'"

Phoenix Autosports' supporters include: Corbeau Seats USA, Synergyn Oil, thepartstrader.com and Balls Out Competition Gear.

For more about Racing For Kids, please see www.racingforkids.org.

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Series SCCA
Drivers Belinda Endress , Mo Nunn , Tommy Kendall