Two American Icons, Western Union and Duesenberg Team, Bring a "Duesie" to Compete in NASCAR in 2006 ASHEVILLE, N.C., Oct. 11, 2005 - Two legendary names are combining forces to compete in the NASCAR Busch Series. Western Union, a global ...
Two American Icons, Western Union and Duesenberg Team, Bring a "Duesie" to Compete in NASCAR in 2006
ASHEVILLE, N.C., Oct. 11, 2005 - Two legendary names are combining forces to compete in the NASCAR Busch Series. Western Union, a global leader in money transfer services, today announced that it is teaming up with Keith Duesenberg & Leik Motorsports, one of the proudest names in racing history for the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series. Western Union will be the primary sponsor of the #01 Western Union Speed Team Chevrolet Monte Carlo beginning with the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series season.
Keith Duesenberg, grand nephew of Fred and Augie Duesenberg and Indy Racing League Infiniti Pro Series team owner has teamed up with Dwayne Leik, former business manager of Marcis Racing and part-time NASCAR Busch Series driver, to form Keith Duesenberg & Leik Motorsports.
Keith Duesenberg & Leik Motorsports will be operating in its newly constructed state-of-the-art facility just south of Asheville in Fletcher, N.C. The team moved into its new facility Oct. 1.
"Starting a new team is a daunting task, but when I started my IPS team my dad made it clear to me that the name had to be respected and if the team was going to say Duesenberg, I had to build a first-class program," Duesenberg said. "I believe I lived up to that in IPS, and I plan on doing the same in NASCAR."
Western Union has a history of motorsports sponsorship with Duesenberg Racing, including
the Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series where they finished second in the Championship in 2003 and 2004. This partnership marks the company's debut on a NASCAR Busch circuit. The company first got involved in motorsports in 2000 with Duesenberg Racing. The Duesenberg Racing family has long-standing traditions in the sport, dating to 1914 when Duesenberg Brothers Racing was first established.
"The continued support we get from a leading brand like Western Union is the type of relationship racing teams covet," said team owner and managing partner Keith Duesenberg. "We have been given a great opportunity with Western Union, and we plan on making a real impact on and off the track."
"Our values of speed, reliability and trust map perfectly to the experience NASCAR delivers to its fans," said Christina Gold, president of Western Union. "We are pleased to partner with Duesenberg with its rich heritage in motorsports to introduce the fans to our Speed Team and compete in America's fastest growing sport."
Keith Duesenberg & Leik Motorsports plans on fielding cars to run the full NASCAR Busch series schedule in 2006. "I know that Keith and I share the same vision for a first class competitive team" stated Dwayne Leik, also team owner and managing partner. "We may be a new team in name, but we all have a lot of experience in racing and we have put together a team that we know can produce impressive results."
On his venture into NASCAR Keith states, "My family has a long history in open wheel racing but you cannot ignore the fact that NASCAR is booming and I look forward to being in the thick of it."
About Duesenberg Racing (History)
A major sports comeback is happening this year. Two legendary names have joined to form a dynamic team. Western Union, a worldwide leader in money transfer services, and one of America's oldest and well-known brand names, will support Keith Duesenberg & Leik Motorsports. Duesenberg one of the proudest names in racing history the American icon that once dominated the "Indy 500" and went on to produce some of the most sought after passenger cars ever built, is preparing to enter America's fastest growing sport, NASCAR. Now, 80 years after its last Brickyard victory Duesenberg is back.
Duesenberg racecars were part of the earliest years of the Indianapolis 500, originally called the Brickyard. In 1914, the Duesenbergs scored their first top-ten finish with Eddie Rickenbacker at the wheel. Rickenbacker would later become America's top flying ace in World War I and would eventually own the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But this was only a glimpse of the glory yet to come for the car known as "The Power of the Hour."
The Duesenbergs roared into prominence in the 1920s, becoming the first American-built car to win a European Grand Prix in 1921. This feat would not be equaled until Dan Gurney's 1967 victory in his Eagle. In the 1922 Indianapolis 500, Duesenberg Brothers' cars captured all but third and ninth place. In 1924, Duesenberg celebrated yet another win. 1925 saw Peter DePaolo driving a banana-colored "Duesie" to victory lane. DePaolo became the first race winner to average over 100 mph, with a winning average speed of 101.13 mph. Rookie driver George Souders gave the Duesenbergs their fourth win of the decade in 1927.
Duesenberg, Inc. went on to produce America's first luxury cars of choice for the rich and famous in the 1930s. In Hollywood, the Duesenberg became the mark of a star. Movie stars Clark Gable, Gary Cooper and Mae West were "Duesie" owners. Business tycoons W. Randolph Hearst, Howard Hughes and John Dodge, heir to the Dodge fortune, were also Duesenberg owners. A young Tony Hulman, the wealthy businessman-sportsman who later bought the Indianapolis Speedway, also drove a Duesenberg. It is said that when H.M. Alfonso XIII, the King of Spain, was exiled, his Duesenberg was the only car he took with him. Even gangland figures and their politically prominent cohorts preferred Duesenbergs, due to their powerful chassis and speed.
Fred and Augie Duesenberg built cars for the rich and famous and winning at Indy four times, three generations later Keith Duesenberg is continuing the family legacy. He is the owner of Keith Duesenberg Racing which has been participating in the Menard's Infiniti Indy Racing League Pro Series the last three seasons (IRL-open wheel racing). As a team they have found their way into Victory Lane 20.7 % of the time, 20 top 5 finishes, 26 top 10 finishes, six Pole-position starts, and a league leading 96% completion of all laps they have competed in during the IRL Pro series. The team was second in the Championship in 2003 and 2004. The success of Keith Duesenberg Racing combined with Dwayne Leik brings a winning performance on & off the track, a quality organization and presentation, a rich heritage, a first class racing effort, success, results and respect.
"To be able to live your dream on a daily basis is very satisfying. It's a dream I've been pursuing since my family introduced me to my first Indy 500 when I was seven," said Keith Duesenberg. "Racing is my family's heritage and we are thrilled to be introducing to a new generation to what it means to be a 'real Duesie'."
Keith Duesenberg & Leik Motorsports -- Team Owners
Managing partners Keith Duesenberg and Dwayne Leik bring years of racing and business experience to Keith Duesenberg & Leik Motorsports.
Duesenberg comes from a family with a long history in automobiles and auto racing, dating to the early 1900s. He is the great-nephew of Fred and Augie Duesenberg, founders of the Duesenberg Motor Company and Duesenberg Brothers Racing. The Duesenbergs began racing in 1914 and captured four Indianapolis 500 wins in the 1920s.
Three generations later, Duesenberg is carrying on the family tradition. As owner of Keith Duesenberg Racing, he saw his Menards Infiniti Pro Series team capture numerous poles, wins, top-five and top-10 finishes in three seasons of competition. With the help of Leik, Duesenberg plans to transfer his success in the Indy Racing League to the NASCAR circuit.
Leik has been involved with racing since 1986; in 1993 he left behind in a successful career in the financial field to pursue his lifelong interest in auto racing. Leik served as business manager for Marcis Racing, owned by veteran racer Dave Marcis. With Marcis Racing, Leik was able to utilize his business background to secure full-time sponsorship for the team. Leik will continue to combine his business and racing knowledge in his position as managing partner of Keith Duesenberg & Leik Motorsports
About Western Union Financial Services
Western Union Financial Services, Inc., a subsidiary of First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC), is an international leader in consumer money transfer services. Western Union and its subsidiary, Orlandi Valuta, together make up one of the world's largest money transfer networks with approximately 233,000 Agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories.