Kansas City, here comes your race team. CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sept. 19, 2002) - In a sense, Kansas City will feel much like a proud parent when the NASCAR Busch Series comes knocking on its door this weekend. Amidst the dust kicked up by more than...
Kansas City, here comes your race team.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sept. 19, 2002) - In a sense, Kansas City will feel much like a proud parent when the NASCAR Busch Series comes knocking on its door this weekend. Amidst the dust kicked up by more than 43 racing organizations comes a team that has flourished under the name of a company built steadfast on Kansas City's own soil - Yellow Transportation, primary sponsor of the #1 Yellow Racing team.
That is enough to make any parent proud. But the four wins, seven top fives and 17 top 10s produced by Team Yellow in less than two years has not only been the source of pride in Kansas City, but also for Yellow employees across the country. It has also further intensified a streak of success Yellow has enjoyed ever since breaking into motorsports in 1998 with its sponsorship in the Craftsman Truck Series.
Already a winner this year, Team Yellow will bombard Kansas Speedway with a yearning for irony - a win in front of its hometown faithful in Saturday's Mr. Goodcents 300 Busch Series race (1 p.m. CDT on TNT.) It will mark the 201st Busch race for driver Jimmy Spencer, a 17-year veteran and a 12-time winner. And it will mark the end of two-week long series of events appropriately named "Yellow Speedweek" which allows the people of Kansas City the opportunity to connect with its hometown race team. (For more information on Yellow Racing, log on to www.myyellow.com).
As the anticipated weekend of racing is now upon us, Team Yellow driver Jimmy Spencer offers his thoughts on his sponsor, his team, and the relationship between the two. As always, he's never at a loss for words.
Driver Jimmy Spencer's thoughts -
Here we go to Kansas, home of Yellow Transportation. Are you ready for the big week?
"Oh yeah, you always look forward to going to Kansas to meet up with the people who provide the backing for your race team. The Kansas race is always a big deal for Yellow. The main offices are there, there's a distribution center, and we're going to visit both of them. The Kansas people as a whole are relatively new to our sport, because the speedway was just built a year ago. So it's exciting to see the community so receptive to racing."
Is it exciting for you to see Kansas City so receptive to the people on this race team?
"Yeah, because this is their team. Phoenix Racing is in Panama City (Fla.), but it just so happens to have a sponsor who is very proud to be where it is - and that's Kansas City. I hope the people in Kansas City and at Yellow recognize the individuals who make up their team. The guys who work day and night on these race cars are the ones who deserve the credit for the success. You know, when I started racing for James Finch last year, I already knew his team's reputation for building fast race cars. That was common knowledge. So it made my decision that much easier, because I knew my chances of winning races were really good. This Yellow Racing team is an extraordinary group. I've got a lot of respect for (crew chief) Marc Reno and (car chief) Johnny Allen."
You talk about how extraordinary this team is. Why is Yellow and Phoenix Racing a good match?
"Because this team relates to Yellow employees more than any team out there - hard-working, committed, unified, and loyal. I think as a driver, I relate to them well, because I'm just one of the guys like everybody else. I have a wife and two kids. My wife and I have worked hard for what we have, and I'm proud to say that. I think James Finch, Marc Reno, Johnny Allen and the rest of the guys are all the same way. Nothing comes easy in this sport, so work ethic is the difference between a good team and a bad team. I think we've proven that we're a top-notch team. We win races, and the ones we don't win, we're usually contending for the win. Just to be able to contend for the win is really important. It gets Yellow exposure, and it gives the team the incentive to work harder."
I think it's safe to say you carry a reputation of being rather outspoken. James Finch is the same way. How has that affected your relationships with sponsors - then and now?
"I don't think James and I are outspoken; I think we're honest. There's a difference."
Well, compared to other drivers, you are outspoken.
"Maybe so, but that's because I'm honest, and James is honest. I think years ago sponsors wanted to have that squeaky clean image, and there's still some truth to that today. But you know what strikes a chord with Americans today? Honesty. I think being honest with the media, the fans, and the sponsors is appreciated and respected, not to mention it maintains your credibility. I'm not here to be a politician, and neither is James. After 9/11, there's a certain demand for honesty from the American public, myself included. If somebody asks my opinion, I'm going to give it. James is the same way. He's not going to sugarcoat anything for you. So as far as relationships with sponsors go, I don't think Yellow or its employees want to waste their time with a group of sugar-coaters for a race team. I think they'd rather have a group of guys who are going to tell the truth. If the car is bad, it's bad. If it's good, it's good. If I messed up, I messed up."
Being the avid gardener that you are, do you know what the Kansas state flower is?
(Long pause.) No, what is it?"
It's the sunflower.
"Really? That's a nice flower. I thought it would've been a poppy or something."
This isn't the Wizard of Oz, you know.
"Wizard of Oz now that's a good movie. I like the trees that throw the apples."
Yellow Transportation is the sponsor of the #1 Yellow Racing entry. Yellow says Yes We Can to more shipping needs than any other transportation provider. The Yellow portfolio of services includes: Exact Express, Definite Delivery, and Standard Ground. For more information on Yellow Racing and on the Yellow portfolio of services, visit the company's state-of-the-art website at www.myyellow.com, or call Yellow customer service at 1-800-610-6500.