Auto Club signs on as title sponsor at Irwindale

Irwindale, Calif. - - The Automobile Club of Southern California will sponsor Irwindale Speedway's popular NASCAR Late Model Division for the 2001 racing season. The Auto Club NASCAR Late Models will debut this Saturday, March 24th, as part of...

Irwindale, Calif. - - The Automobile Club of Southern California will sponsor Irwindale Speedway's popular NASCAR Late Model Division for the 2001 racing season.

The Auto Club NASCAR Late Models will debut this Saturday, March 24th, as part of a triple-header co-featuring the USAC Silver Crown and Western States Sprint Cars.

The series features 1990 or newer domestic model stock cars with a 2,950-pound minimum weight and a fiberglass body mounted on the vehicle's original frame. Horsepower is generated from 360 cubic-inch V-8 engines using two-barrel carburetors. All entrants will carry the Auto Club logo on their windshield screen and drivers will wear the Auto Club logo on their uniform.

Sponsorship of the 17-race series marks a major enhancement of the Auto Club's involvement at the Speedway. The Club has been providing emergency road service to Irwindale Speedway spectators since its opening night in March 1999.

A partner in the Auto Club's Show Your Card and Save Program, Irwindale Speedway will continue to offer members discounts on tickets and souvenirs at every event.

"Irwindale Speedway has been an outstanding venue for the Auto Club to greatly expand its brand awareness since the track opened its gates in 1999," said Thomas V. McKernan. Jr., President and CEO of the Automobile Club of Southern California.

"Approximately 200,000 people attended events at the track last year, enjoying a family-oriented atmosphere in a state-of-the-art facility. Our enhanced involvement presents numerous opportunities to attract new members, while Irwindale's participation as a Show Your Card and Save partner increases the value of an Auto Club membership to the thousands of motorsports fans throughout the region.

"In addition, we will honor a number of our outstanding Auto Club employees throughout the season as they serve in the capacity of grand marshals, official starters and award presenters at our series events," added McKernan.

As the "Official Roadside Assistance Provider" for Irwindale Speedway, members of the Auto Club's Special Events Department will be on duty during every race.

Should any Speedway spectator - both Auto Club members and non-members - alike lock their keys in their car, experience a flat tire or battery problems, or just "temporarily misplace" their vehicle somewhere on the track's 2,500-car parking lot, the Auto Club will be there to lend a helping hand.

The NASCAR Late Model competitors will be joining the Auto Club's extensive youth and education outreach efforts. Under the leadership of NHRA Funny Car competitors Gary Densham, Tony Pedregon and John Force, these programs annually impact more than 10,000 young men and women in communities throughout the Southland.

The official name of the new division is "The Automobile Club of Southern California NASCAR Late Models", but most fans, as well as the track announcer at Irwindale will call it the "Auto Club Late Models". "This division laps the circuit so fast and so competitive that they'd almost be around again before we got the whole name out each lap," quipped the veteran "Voice" of the Speedway, action announcer Bruce Flanders. "The Auto Club is just a super organization, they support a great deal of high quality professional motorsports here in southern California, it's really great to have them on board here at Irwindale."

In addition to its involvement at Irwindale Speedway, the Auto Club enjoys title sponsorship of the NASCAR Auto Club 300 at California Speedway and the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway. The Club serves as presenting sponsor of the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway, sponsors the popular Auto Club Car Club Corral at the Chrysler-Jeep Classic Speed Festival in San Diego and is a major associate sponsor of the CART Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Automobile Club of Southern California logo is predominantly displayed on the Ford Mustang Funny Cars driven by John Force, Tony Pedregon and Gary Densham on the 24-race NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series national tour.

The Auto Club also sponsors the prestigious NHRA "Road to the Future Award" (presented annually to a professional driver destined for future greatness), sponsors the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League team at Pomona Raceway and is also a major track sponsor at California Speedway, Famoso Raceway and Pomona.

Tickets for all Automobile Club of Southern California NASCAR Late Model races, as well as all other events on Irwindale Speedway's 39-race schedule, are now available at the track's on-site box office or by phone at (626) 358-1100.

-Doug Stokes

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Series Automotive , NASCAR
Drivers Tony Pedregon , John Force , Gary Densham