Athletes in NASCAR's top racing divisions cherish the opportunity to return to their home areas to race. The opportunity to mingle with friends, family and lifelong supporters is priceless, but in the face of the many requirements that come...
Athletes in NASCAR's top racing divisions cherish the opportunity to return to their home areas to race. The opportunity to mingle with friends, family and lifelong supporters is priceless, but in the face of the many requirements that come with the position, it is typical for NASCAR's athletes to do more than usual. B.A. Wilson of Bonham, Texas, and his Sonntag Racing team, which is also based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, took the bit in their teeth in the weeks leading up to Friday night's O'Reilly 400 presented by Valvoline DuraBlend at Texas Motor Speedway.
Team owner Joey Sonntag and Wilson partnered with 96.3 KSCS FM, the leading Country Music radio station in the DFW area. The station is promoting its own label of breakfast cereals featuring popular morning show hosts Terry Dorsey and Mark "Hawkeye" Louis.
Proceeds from the sales of "Dorsey Flakes" and "Honey Nut Hawkeyes" benefit both Scottish Rites Hospital and Children's Medical Center of Dallas along with Cook Children's Medical Center of Fort Worth.
In conjunction with the promotion, Wilson's No. 73 Berryman Chemtool Chevrolet prominently featured the cereal box logos over weekend for the O'Reilly 400.
"We're really excited about coming back home to Texas to race in front of our friends, family and local fans," Wilson said in a pre-race on-air interview. "Texas Motor Speedway is such a special facility for us, not only because we are from the area, but also considering it's where we posted our first top-10 as a team.
"We've experienced some of the typical ups and downs as of late but we think we have everything back in order."
Prior to Friday's race day, Wilson did his part to drum up interest in the TMS event, which is always one of the series' better-attended venues.
Wilson gave some of the on-air staff at KSCS FM, as well as other local members of the media a special treat -- laps in Chevrolet's "tandem truck" that is fitted with a passenger seat at the 1.5-mile speedway where the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series vehicles reach speeds of more than 180 mph, at speeds up to 140 mph.
KSCS is the official FM radio station of Texas Motor Speedway. KSCS also broadcast MRN Radio's coverage of the Pronto Auto Parts 400 NCTS race back in June, in which Wilson finished 9th.
"We're really excited about having KSCS on board with us at Texas," Wilson said of the alliance. "Those morning show guys are a big hit in this market and I'm glad that we can help them support a worthy cause."
The promotional cereal featured on Wilson's truck is available at most major Metroplex grocery stores including Albertson's and Minyard's. Information on the promotion is available at www.kscs.com.
Wilson didn't stop there when it came to his community relations campaign. Prior to the race weekend activities he was invited to be the guest speaker at Plano Jasper High School by the student group S.T.A.N.D. (acronym for Students Taking Action, Not Drugs).
Some 85 students and faculty were treated to the NCTS season's video highlights along with a chance to take a tour of the No. 73 Berryman Chemtool Chevrolet's 18-wheel hauler. In addition, Wilson was able to spend a few minutes conveying the importance of living a drug free life and how it has benefited his career.
"It was really pretty easy for me to avoid all of the peer pressure of drugs and alcohol growing up because I was always racing on Friday and Saturday nights," Wilson said. "Once I decided to set my goals and make a career out of racing, being able to stay away from the drugs and the negative influences became fairly easy over time.
"That's probably the main thing I'd recommend growing up is to set your goals and your standards high. Once you do, it's easy to say no to peer pressure."
After his presentation, Wilson signed numerous autographs for both faculty and students. He also did an interview for the student-run Plano school television network.
In the race itself, Wilson was unable to complete what he hoped would be a dream weekend. The team easily qualified in 21st but, on the race's second lap Chad Chaffin lost control in Turn 2 and spun. In the ensuing melee Wilson's truck was one of no less than 10 that were swept up in one of the season's worst accidents.
Sonntag's crew was able to make repairs and Wilson ultimately completed 43 of 167 laps. He finished 27th.
"The way things were going out there today for other people I could have had a top-15," he said of his shortened evening. "It's really bad this had to happen here at my home track."
Wilson and Sonntag Racing will complete their season with the Berryman Chemtool Chevrolet in the Motorola 200 at California Speedway on Oct. 28.