MARTIN, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee at Martin and FMS Racing have joined to form the 2001 UT Martin Race Team, which will compete in the 2001 Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) series at tracks in Tennessee, Indiana and...
MARTIN, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee at Martin and FMS Racing have joined to form the 2001 UT Martin Race Team, which will compete in the 2001 Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) series at tracks in Tennessee, Indiana and Kentucky.
The team will feature a UT Martin Racing Monte Carlo driven by Weakley County native Michael Melton. The car, displaying the university's Skyhawk athletics logo and official colors, will be unveiled Monday night, Dec. 4, during the UT Martin-Webster University men's basketball game. Fans will get a close-up view of the car and the opportunity to meet Melton and other members of the racing team. Race team merchandise will also be on sale.
"We are excited about this relationship with UT Martin," said Chris Carpenter, FMS team operations manager and a university alumnus. "I am not aware of another racing team relationship with a university in the ARCA Racing Series. We believe people in this region will enjoy following this team as it carries the UT Martin name to racing fans in Tennessee and around the Mid-South."
ARCA, founded in 1953, is a national sanctioning body similar to NASCAR and features 24 stock car races in the 2001 season that begins in February. The UT Martin car will attempt to qualify for four races: April 29 at Salem Speedway in Salem, Ind.; June 22 at Memphis Motorsports Park in Millington, Tenn.; July 13 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky.; and Aug. 11 at the new Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn.
"This is an innovative relationship that should create plenty of enthusiasm for our students and alumni," said Dr. Nick Dunagan, UT Martin interim chancellor. "The university also should benefit greatly from visibility created by the team during the racing season and through the sale of related merchandise."
Dunagan said the university has no financial investment in the UT Martin Race Team but stands to benefit financially from the sale of race team merchandise. He said the university will also schedule the car and the driver for campus and alumni appearances and other special events.
"The UT Martin Race Team leadership is composed of several UT Martin alumni," Dunagan said. "We appreciate the opportunity to work with them to promote this growing sport, and we are grateful for the public exposure it will bring to the university."
Besides Carpenter and Melton, UT Martin Race Team members include Jack Martin, race operations manager, and Rhea Fain, team manager. The team will maintain a Web site (utmracing.com) that provides updates about the team and racing schedule.
Opportunities are still available for associate sponsorship of the UT Martin Race Team, and additional information can be obtained by contacting Fain at 901-968-8894. ### Dec. 4 is "NASCAR Night" at Skyhawk Arena
Monday night, Dec. 4, is "NASCAR Night" at Skyhawk Arena as the Skyhawk men's basketball team plays Webster University at 7 p.m. Members of the UT Martin Race Team will be on hand to unveil the UT Martin Racing Monte Carlo at halftime, and race team merchandise will be on sale.
"We believe this relationship creates a great opportunity for us to expand the Skyhawk fan base," said Phil Dane, UT Martin director of intercollegiate athletics. "Monday night, any adult wearing NASCAR apparel to the game will be admitted for $3, and any child under the age of 12 wearing NASCAR apparel will be admitted free."