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Biffle honors Kulwicki with Darlington scheme
RELATED: All the 2016 throwback paint schemes " Buy tickets " Vote now CONCORD, N.C. – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Greg Biffle and his No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing team will honor 1992 premier series champion Alan Kulwicki during next month's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway . Biffle, along with U.S. Congressman Richard Hudson and Andrew Collier, unveiled a Hooters paint scheme similar to the orange and white scheme featured on Kulwicki's Ford Thunderbird entries from 1991 through the first five races of the '93 season. "The sport was built on guys like that," Biffle said Tuesday. "He ran his own deal and wanted to do stuff his way. He had five career wins and a championship in 92 -- that's a really, really neat story. It's unfortunate that I never got the chance to meet him." The popular restaurant chain began its' sponsorship of the No. 7 team at the fifth race of the '91 season at Darlington. Kulwicki was both owner and driver for the single-team organization. The 1.366-mile track was also the site of Kulwicki's final start – he placed sixth in '93 TranSouth 500. Kulwicki , the series' 1986 Rookie of the Year, was killed in a plane crash in Blountville, Tenn., on April 1, 1993. To possibly win with Hooters on the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford? "How cool would that be?" Biffle asked. "Then to do an Alan Kulwicki victory lap … would be a storybook ending." Biffle will be making his 16th career start at Darlington, where he has two victories (2005, '06) and a pair of poles. His average starting position at the track is 11.1, best for the 46-year-old among the 22 venues hosting Sprint Cup Series races, while his average finish of 13.6 there is fourth overall. He has led more laps at Darlington (718) than any track other than Texas Motor Speedway , where he has led 733. This is the second season the legendary track has hosted a throwback-themed race weekend, with teams sporting paint schemes similar to those seen in the past. The Bojangles' Southern 500 is scheduled 6 p.m. ET, Sunday, Sept. 4 (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR). Hooters isn't just on the car as part of the throwback scheme, the restaurant chain is also taking an active role with the team, helping to promote National First Responders Day. Collier, a machinist in the Hendrick Motorsports engine shop, has been a driving force in trying to establish a national day of recognition for first responders. His brother, Sean, was a police officer with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013 when he was killed by one of two Boston Marathon bombers. "Sean was planning on going and hanging out with some friends that night," Andrew Collier said. "He had no idea … that happens to a lot of first responders every year. It's time we honor them; they are our front line here at home. You have an accident … a fire, anything, none of us ever want to see it but if it does happen to us, the first thing we do is count on them. "It's time to honor them and make this day a reality." For more information about the effort to establish a national day of recognition, visit www.firstrespondersday.org . &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
NASCAR Hall of Fame: Alan Kulwicki
NASCAR driver Alan Kulwicki was the 1986 Rookie of the Year and 1992 NSCS Champion. He was also famous for his 'Polish' victory lap.
Biffle unveils a throwback Kulwicki paint scheme
Greg Biffle will be running a Hooters paint scheme at Darlington Raceway honoring Alan Kulwicki's 1992 championship season.
Throwback Thursday: Alan Kulwicki's Final Lap
Alan Kulwicki died in an airplane crash on Thursday April 1, 1993 traveling from an appearance in Knoxville at Hooters aboard a Hooters corporate plane flight across Tennessee before the Sunday spring race at Bristol.
After Hooters deal, Chase Elliott pumped to stare at ... chicken wings
RELATED: Read more Inside Groove " Hooters joins Elliott for '17 Hendrick Motorsports announced Monday that casual dining chain Hooters would sponsor No. 24 Chevrolet driver Chase Elliott beginning in 2017, which is kind of a best-case-scenario sponsor for the 21-year-old. Elliott was asked about the new deal right away in his NASCAR Media Tour session on Tuesday, and he expanded upon what it was like to take the promo photographs with the Hooters girls and the behind-the-scenes vibe. "It's definitely (a sponsor) I wasn't going to turn down, that's for sure," Elliott, heading into his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, said. "I had a lot of fun with it and they're certainly a fun group of people. Not just the brand, but the group of people that they have to work with behind the scenes. Easy to work with; great to work with. Had a lot of fun. Got to stare, I didn't get to eat, but got to stare at a lot of chicken wings yesterday. It's probably good that I didn't eat 'em. I need to get back in the gym." Nice save. Elliott then explained how important the sponsor is to his family, as his father, Bill, and Alan Kulwicki had one of NASCAR's most storied championship battles in 1992 while Kulwicki ran the Hooters paint scheme. "It was a lot of fun. I'm excited to have them on board. I know their history with Alan ( Kulwicki ) is long and him and my dad had obviously a great championship battle in 1992. That's obviously kind of ironic to see that," said Elliott. "My dad had a lot of respect for Alan and what he did; both my parents do. It's pretty neat to carry the Hooters colors this year and I'm looking forward to that. Definitely something different." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Nominee for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class
Hooters to sponsor Chase Elliott beginning in 2017
CONCORD, N.C. -- Hooters has joined 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports as a primary sponsor of driver Chase Elliott and the No. 24 Chevrolet SS team beginning in 2017. A casual dining establishment with a deep history in NASCAR, Hooters will be a two-race primary sponsor and full-season associate sponsor of the No. 24 team in both 2017 and 2018. The Hooters Chevrolet SS will debut May 7 at Talladega Superspeedway and appear again during the Chase for the NASCAR Cup Nov. 12 at Phoenix International Raceway . Hooters has been a primary sponsor in more than 150 Cup-level races, notably as the full-season sponsor of 1992 premier series champion Alan Kulwicki . That year, Kulwicki won two races and narrowly edged Elliott’s father, 1989 Cup champion Bill Elliott , by 10 points to win the title. “Twenty-five years after being part of one of the most memorable seasons in NASCAR history, Hooters is excited to support another amazing talent in Chase Elliott and the No. 24 team,” said Carl Sweat, chief marketing officer of Hooters of America LLC. “As the official headquarters of race day, we’re proud that so many NASCAR fans choose to watch the races at Hooters every week while enjoying their favorite wings, ice cold beer and one-of-a-kind Hooters Girl hospitality.” As part of the new relationship, Hooters has launched a full year of promotions, exclusive content and commemorative merchandise for fans at www.hooters.com . Beginning today, fans can register for the chance to win a trip for two to meet Elliott and cheer on the No. 24 team from pit road at the Nov. 12 Phoenix race. Everyone who registers will receive a $5 off certificate toward their next visit to Hooters. For a limited time, the first fans to register can also purchase collectible limited-edition $24 Hooters gift cards commemorating Elliott and the new No. 24 Hooters Chevy. "Hooters started with six people in 1983, and now they’re in 42 states and 28 countries," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports . "They've grown by focusing on the experience, earning the business of their customers and supporting terrific causes like cancer research and our men and women in uniform. NASCAR fans appreciate those things, and we have an opportunity to do some great work together." In 2016, Elliott earned Cup Series rookie of the year honors after posting 10 top-five finishes, 17 top-10s and two pole positions, including the season-opening Daytona 500 . He is a second-generation NASCAR champion, having won the 2014 XFINITY Series title at just 18 years old. Now 21, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native has already earned six wins, 47 top-fives and 84 top-10s in NASCAR national series competition. "Hooters is a place where I can let down my guard and have a good time," Elliott said. "It means a lot to have them support the No. 24 team, and I can't wait to get behind the wheel of their car. Being on the ground level of introducing a new partner to the Hendrick Motorsports family is going to be a lot of fun. Hooters has a historic place in this sport, and I'm glad they're back. Our entire team is looking forward to making the program a success." Fans are encouraged to use the #Hooters24 hashtag throughout the year to share their excitement and engage via social media.
Hooters takes lead in National First Responder's Day dialogue
RELATED: Sign the petition to create National First Responders Day Alongside Greg Biffle and his No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford throwback scheme for the Darlington race, Hooters has partnered with the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Black Police Association and Thankyoufirstresponder.org to create a National First Responders Day , a day to honor and recognize the contribution and sacrifice of First Responders across America. Hooters was inspired by Andrew Collier, brother of slain MIT police officer Sean Collier who gave his life protecting his community during the Boston Marathon bombing tragedy, and has been lobbying Congress to designate one day to the recognition of First Responders. Along with those efforts, FirstRespondersDay.org has been created for Americans to express their gratitude and share support for FirstResponders, as well as sign a petition formally requesting that Congress pass, and the president sign, legislation creating a National First Responders Day. Biffle, along with MLB Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, politician and activist Ambassador Andrew Young, ESPN football analyst Jon Gruden, UFC President Dana White, UFC Hall of Famer Forrest Griffin and UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic are among the many supporters who have teamed up to encourage Americans to sign the petition. Hooters is expressing its gratitude to first responders by treating them to a free entrée on Tuesday, Sept. 20. First Responders can select an item from a special menu that will include buffalo chicken salad, buffalo chicken sandwich, Hooters burger, 10-piece traditional wings and 10-piece boneless wings if they are in uniform or present valid credentials at any Hooters restaurant across the nation. A brand with deep roots in NASCAR, Hooters returns as sponsor of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car just in time for one of the most anticipated races of the year. Twenty-four years ago, Alan Kulwicki drove his Hooters-sponsored car to the 1992 championship.
Student of the sport, Ty Majeski cramming for what's Next
RELATED: NASCAR Next 2016-17 class unveiled " Meet the 2016-17 Next class When Ty Majeski got the call informing him that he'd be part of the new NASCAR Next class of up-and-coming drivers, he was actually hitting the books -- or in his words, "crunching before an exam" -- in his University of Wisconsin-Madison dorm room. For the third-year student pursuing a mechanical engineering degree, it was the perfect study break. "It kind of cut into my studying time," Majeski said with a laugh Wednesday during a gathering with his 2016-17 Next classmates. "But when they called me and said, 'We need you in Charlotte next week,' it was just very surreal." But his debut as a member of NASCAR Next wasn't the only major development in the 21-year-old Majeski's racing career this week. Monday, Roush Fenway Racing announced that they had signed the Wisconsin native to a driver development contract. MORE: Full NASCAR Next coverage The deal helped provide some direction for one of the most talked-about short track racers in the country. Even before Tuesday's announcement, Dale Earnhardt Jr . had identified Majeski as a driver to watch in a tweet, and his name came up again during an appearance by reigning Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "It's definitely been crazy," Majeski said. "Last week at this time, I didn't think we were going to announce the Roush Fenway deal. I think there was kind of some media buzz a bit -- Kyle Busch talked about me on (SiriusXM) NASCAR Radio and I think Roush Fenway wanted to announce it, and it lit a fire under them to get that out there, which is all good. Definitely been a surreal week, and just kind of weird that it wound up panning out that way." As part of the deal, Majeski will drive five ARCA Series races for Roulo Bros. Racing, the same team that helped groom Chris Buescher for a career in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. That partial schedule will mesh with continuing school work, his Super Late Model slate and competition in the ARCA Midwest Tour, where he's won two championships. His accomplishments -- including Super Late Model triumphs this year in the New Smyrna World Series and the Rattler -- might make it tempting to forgo a college education to focus full-time on racing. But Majeski is following in the footsteps of another Wisconsonite -- former premier-series champion Alan Kulwicki -- in earning his degree. "It goes both directions," says Majeski, who participated in the Kulwicki Driver Development Program last season. "I've got to have something to fall back on. Obviously, nothing's for certain in this sport. We see it every day that things change by the day. You're never locked into anything and I need to have something to fall back on. I've always wanted to be involved in racing, so if it doesn't pan out, I'm hoping to be an engineer for a team someday and keep racing in my life."
Food City-Bristol partnership roots run deep
RELATED: Bristol quick facts " Full weekend schedule BRISTOL, Tenn. – It began with a promotion to help former series sponsor RJ Reynolds sell product. Today, 25 years later, the Food City sponsorship of Bristol Motor Speedway 's spring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event is as strong as ever. It is the second-longest race entitlement in NASCAR – trailing only the Coca-Cola sponsorship of the 600-mile May race at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "We started in 1992, followed up the Valleydale 500," Steve Smith , Food City President and CEO, said Thursday at BMS. "That was back when it was still Winston Cup. We worked with RJ Reynolds on a promotion ... that was the whole genesis of us getting involved in racing." Initially, it wasn't a long-term deal, but by the time the next season had arrived, officials with the grocery chain were ready and willing to return. "We signed the (initial) agreement and we had a great first race," Smith said. " Alan Kulwicki actually won our first race in 1992; I remember that well. We were off and running." Kulwicki , an owner/driver, went on to win the series title that season. Tragically, the following year he was killed in a plane crash while en route to BMS to defend his Food City 500 title. Smith said his company, founded by his father Jack, became involved at the right time in the sport, when the fan base was on the upswing, TV coverage was gaining traction and sponsorship dollars were flowing. "What happened with Bristol was really indicative of what was happening with NASCAR, it was just growing and growing," he said. "Five years later Bruton (Smith, Speedway Motorsports Inc. founder) bought the track and things just really started to escalate here with the amenities and the things that they did for the race fans. ... Folks love coming here, they love the racing environment, and they love, I think, the southern hospitality. "We try, as a sponsor, to do a lot of things to get them in here a little bit early, whether it's Food City Race Night or other events to really make it a full week of fun for the race fan." In addition to the Sprint Cup race sponsorship, the company also sponsors the August NASCAR XFINITY Series event at Bristol. While there have been times that spending money on race entitlement rights might have been questionable, Smith said "I don't think there's ever been a time when we really thought about dropping the race. "Now, we've negotiated pretty tough with Speedway Motorsports because obviously the fan base dropped a little bit, the viewership dropped a little bit, but when you've got folks like (former BMS General Manager) Jeff Byrd and (current GM) Jerry Caldwell that you know are going to do everything they can to give the race fan, our customers, that experience, it makes it pretty easy to continue to spend the dollars and continue to keep our associates that work in our stores involved in racing, and that's a big part of it, too." The return for Food City, he said, comes in many forms. No. 1 is name recognition. "We're a relatively small regional company -- we're in four states, 135 stores, 16,000 associates," Smith said. "It sounds like a lot but in the scheme of things compared to some of our competition, it's not. But it's a sense of pride for our associates, our customers who know we sponsor racing. "NASCAR fans are very loyal, they're loyal to the brands that are involved whether it's Food City or other consumer products sponsors. We think it helps us sell more products and bring more people in to our stores." In February of 2014, Food City and BMS officials announced a five-year extension for the naming rights of the track's spring Sprint Cup race. "At the end of the day, it's hard to put a financial statement together that proves that it's a great spend, but we've been doing good ever since we been sponsoring racing so we don't want to stop there," Smith said.