Truck maker sponsors overall racing series, individual NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams and truck driver challenge events
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA…Freightliner Trucks announced its official sponsorship of NASCAR at a press conference here prior to the Daytona 500 (Feb. 19, NBC, 1:30 p.m.). The company returns as a 2006 sponsor of individual NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series racing teams and will host a series of pre-race events called The Freightliner Run SmartSM Hauler Challenge.
“Both NASCAR and Freightliner Trucks share a passion for vehicles that push the envelope in terms of performance and efficiency,” said Jonathan Randall, Director of Product Marketing, Freightliner Trucks. Randall said the NASCAR sponsorship was a great fit because many heavy duty truck drivers and buyers are also devoted NASCAR fans.
For the 2006 racing season, Freightliner Trucks will sponsor the following individual NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series teams: Evernham Motorsports; Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (DEI); Penske Racing South; Hendrick Motorsports; Petty Enterprises; Haas CNC Racing; Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabatas; BAM Racing; Akins Motorsports; Rusty Wallace Racing, Inc.; Jr. Motorsports; Fitz-Bradshaw Racing; and Michael Waltrip Racing.
“We have supplied hauler vehicles to these major NASCAR teams for over five years,” Randall stated. “In addition to all of the great teams we’ve been affiliated with for years, we are also proud to announce our latest team relationship with Dale Earnhardt, Inc.”
“The Freightliner brand has a great reputation in the transportation industry and we’re proud to have them as a partner,” said Steve Phelps, Vice President of Corporate Marketing for NASCAR. “A small city moves from event to event during the 38-race NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season, and partners like Freightliner keep our sport rolling.”
As an associate sponsor of thirteen racing teams, the Freightliner Trucks logo will appear on each team’s race car, driver suit, crew uniforms and the heavy-duty transporter vehicles.
Freightliner’s Coronado® and Classic XL heavy-duty truck models will transport the sponsored race cars and team equipment from race to race for the entire 2006 NASCAR season. Medium-duty Freightliner Business Class® M2 SportChassis models will also haul NASCAR equipment and scoring trailers and some teams use the M2s as box trucks and roll backs as well, hauling show cars and engines.
“Our over-the-road Class 8 truck models are known for their roomy interiors and premium driver comfort features,” Randall stated. “We supply the NASCAR team hauler drivers with vehicles that deliver a great ride, outstanding maneuverability and the best interior comfort features for those long days on the road from track to track.”
The Coronado and Classic XL truck models blend the traditional styling of heavy-duty conventional trucks with new engineering innovations and advancements that enhance comfort, ride, handling, fuel efficiency, productivity and safety.
For long-haul applications, the Coronado and Classic XL are available with the industry’s roomiest sleepers: the 70-inch Raised Roof SleeperCab and the 70-inch Mid-Roof XT (Extra Tall) SleeperCab for the Coronado and the 70-inch Raised Roof SleeperCab and the ultra-spacious 84-inch Raised Roof SleeperCab for the Classic XL.
“Freightliner Trucks has supplied Evernham Motorsports with outstanding support and first-class vehicles for five years running,” said Ray Evernham, Owner of Evernham Motorsports. “Our drivers have nothing but great things to say about the quality and performance of the Coronados. We are truly excited to continue our relationship with the Freightliner organization into the 2006 season and beyond.”
The Freightliner NASCAR haulers get a lot of attention driving down the highway to and from each race. The trucks are outfitted with Panelite stainless steel accessories, rear fender extensions and premium LED lighting packages. Each tractor and trailer is wrapped with colorful and dramatic team graphics, garnering attention from other drivers on the road and from crowds at rest stops along the way.
But, Chris Sweeny, truck driver and “at-track” lead crash mechanic for the Evernham Motorsports #9 race team says Freightliner trucks are more than just a pretty face. “Freightliner puts more than just a cab over their components. They make their trucks better than the competition,” Sweeny said. “As a professional driver, I really appreciate all of the comfort features and performance benefits Freightliner trucks offer.”
The Freightliner Run Smart Hauler Challenge
2006 will also mark the first year of the Freightliner Run Smart Hauler Challenge, an event that showcases NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series hauler drivers demonstrating their truck driving skills in Freightliner’s top-of-the-line heavy-duty Coronado model. Drivers will maneuver through an obstacle course and test skills such as parallel parking and backing up around curves.
“The hauler challenge is about skill and control, not speed. The course simulates real-life driving situations,” said Randall. He added that the hauler drivers take the competition very seriously, not only for the personal pride of being the best, but for the $35,000 grand prize, $15,000 second prize and $5,000 third prize.
The hauler challenges will be held on the same racetracks as the NASCAR NEXEL Cup Series and are scheduled to take place before the races. The first competition will narrow the contenders to 16, with the fifth and final competition pitting the top two hauler drivers against each other. Dates and locations of the hauler challenge are:
Thursday, March 9, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nev.
Thursday, May 18, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Charlotte, N.C.
Friday, July 7, Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet, Ill.
Saturday, Oct. 7, Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Ala.
Sunday, Nov. 5, Texas Motor Speedway, Dallas, Texas (finals)
“We’ve had nothing but great feedback regarding the performance of our transporter vehicles for our sponsored teams,” Randall added. “We are excited to showcase the maneuverability and handling of our trucks at the hauler challenge. I know the hauler drivers are looking forward to this competition as well.”
“Throughout this year, from the series and team sponsorships to the hauler challenge, we will see a repeated pairing of two organizations known for innovation and performance: Freightliner Trucks and NASCAR,” Randall said. ”We are proud to play such a significant role in the 2006 NASCAR season.”
Freightliner Trucks is a division of Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Freightliner LLC produces and markets Class 3-8 trucks and is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.