Contreras changing the face of NASCAR racing

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (May 21, 2001) - Most aspiring race car drivers have the same goal of catching their big break by attracting the attention of NASCAR's top teams. Carlos Contreras is living his dream, while changing the face of NASCAR as the...

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (May 21, 2001) - Most aspiring race car drivers have the same goal of catching their big break by attracting the attention of NASCAR's top teams. Carlos Contreras is living his dream, while changing the face of NASCAR as the first Mexican driver in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Contreras will be among the drivers attempting to qualify for a starting position in the O'Reilly 400, presented by Valvoline DuraBlend, at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8.

Contreras took up motorsports at the age of 18 when he began to race go-karts. Once he ventured on to Mexico's challenging road courses, Contreras, like so many racers before him, was instantly hooked on the competition and speed of auto racing. In the years that followed, he competed in several different series throughout Mexico, culminating with back-to-back Mustang Cup championships in 1998 and 1999. Along the way, he hoped to one day race in NASCAR.

After his second Mustang Cup championship, Contreras longtime sponsor Hot Wheels expanded their sponsorship to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. "I thought they were joking," recalls Contreras. But before he knew it, Contreras was bound for California Speedway for the 1999 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series finale.

Following meetings with different team owners, he eventually settled into a truck and became the first Mexican driver to qualify and compete in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. He showed flashes of talent with a 12th place finish that weekend, and was well on his way to the next step of his racing career.

This season, Carlos Contreras has taken one big step further by joining Petty Enterprises, where he drives the No. 43 Hot Wheels Dodge. "I always wanted to drive for Richard Petty," says Contreras. "Now, that dream is a reality. It's incredible for me, I am very happy and proud to be a part of the Petty team."

In his two prior appearances at Texas Motor Speedway, Contreras finished 20th and 15th. Many things are different for him this time around, but his dreams of NASCAR are still driving him closer to Victory Lane. ###

-TMS

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Carlos Contreras , Richard Petty