Dotter and team on familiar turf at Milwaukee Mile; try to push positive messages to racing's audience. West Allis, WI Bobby Dotter comes to this weekend's GNC Live Well 200 at the Milwaukee Mile with something many of his fellow...
Dotter and team on familiar turf at Milwaukee Mile; try to push positive messages to racing's audience.
West Allis, WI Bobby Dotter comes to this weekend's GNC Live Well 200 at the Milwaukee Mile with something many of his fellow competitors would love to have: a wealth of experience at the tricky, flat one-mile oval. The driver of the #08 People Against Drugs Chevrolet has more laps here than the vast majority of his competition this weekend.
Dotter has racked up those laps on the nation's oldest automobile raceway in just about every type of stock car that has competed here.
"I first came here in the early 1980s," Dotter said. "We have run just about everything here. ASA, Artgo (now the NASCAR Re/MAX Challenge Series), ARCA, the Busch Series and now the Truck Series. And in most of them, we have run really well. But for whatever reason, luck never played into our hands to let us complete the deal."
"One year when I was running ASA, I was battling with Mike Eddy for the lead late in the race," Dotter recalled. "Eddy is as hard nosed as any driver you will ever race against. Well, we got together and we ended up crashing on the backstretch. Another time I came here with an ARCA car and was leading with just a few laps to go and the engine quit. Seems to have been typical of our luck here."
But the bad luck has been tempered by some good days as well.
"At one time, I had the track record here for the Busch Series," Dotter said of his pole winning speed for the Busch Series race in 1994. "We've had some good days here. We may not have always had the finishes we wanted, but I really enjoy coming here."
While Dotter's Chevrolet Silverado looks like any other truck in competition this weekend, there are the numerous contingency decals on the front fenders and many smaller sponsors placed all over the rear of the truck, the logos used where the team's primary sponsor would be placed are the most unique in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
People Against Drugs is a nonprofit organization started in 1990 by Dotter's team owner Gene Christensen. Under Christensen's direction, People Against Drugs has acquired numerous low-income housing projects that are now operated as drug free.
"This whole thing is the product of Gene's own recovery," Dotter said. "In 1987, Gene realized he needed to make a change, and he did. Since then, he has given a lot of himself to push the "no use" message. People Against Drugs helps all of its low income tenants with anything from job referrals to child care. It is an all encompassing program."
It is hoped that the exposure generated by participating in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will generate awareness of the goals People Against Drugs is trying to accomplish. Those goals include identifying areas of need, community involvement, and fund raising.
"When we go to Kansas next week, we will do an appearance at one of the housing complexes," Dotter said. "We will go in and spend some time with the residents and answer as many questions about NASCAR as we can. They really seem to enjoy it. Its not every day that they get to see things like this up close and personal, so we try to make it as big a deal as we can for them."
After the unfortunate events of September 11th, Christensen decided the use the power of the exposure generated by the team's exposure on ESPN broadcasts to give a patriotic message and fight terrorism.
"Instead of running our own People Against Drugs logos, we had 'Home Front Heroes' and 'Stop Terrorism Now' on the truck in some of the late season events," Dotter said. "The way Gene figures it is that we are going to be here racing anyhow. We don't have a major sponsor on the truck right now, so why not use the truck to promote a positive image? That goes for the People Against Drugs message too.
"And when we do land that major sponsor," Dotter continued, "it gives them a chance to partner up with someone that is working hard not only to promote their company and their message, but to be affiliated with someone that wants to make a difference in the community."
The GNC Live Well 200 at The Milwaukee Mile is scheduled for Saturday at 1:30 PM. It will be televised live on ESPN and broadcast nationwide on MRN Radio affiliates and XM Satellite Radio.