EAST WENATCHEE — At the highest levels of the sport, every single square inch of most cars is covered by sponsors’ logos, decals or sloguns.
But go a couple rungs lower on the auto racing ladder, and big-money endorsement deals are a little harder to come by. That means drivers have to get a little more creative when getting their cars race-ready.
Sure, the names of plenty of tire companies, auto parts manufacturers, and liquid refreshment providers can be seen making laps at Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval. But you’ll also see a lot more variety in sponsors, as well as personal messages that Sprint Cup drivers don’t have room for.
Here’s a look at some of the more interesting offerings from last Satursday night at the races.
Flags or other red, white and blue themes are not uncommon, but Chad Holaday has something very specific in mind when he painted an American flag and the words “We Support Our Troops” on his car just before Saturday’s race.
“As I was loading up my car, my brother was loading up for his third tour of Iraq,” Holaday said of his younger brother Chris. “I put it on just this morning to give him a little tribute.
“I thought it was the least I could do, because he does what he does so we can do what we do here.”
Russell Kain spent a lot of time in the winner’s circle last season. He also spent many a Saturday night hot under the collar after getting picked for “spot” inspections. This season, he decided to have a little fun with that situation.
So he painted “383 CID” next to the hood on both sides of his car.
“It stands for 383 cubic inch displacement, (which would be) an illegal ‘stroked’ motor.”
A lot of drivers promote their “real” jobs on their cars. At least one owner advertises his wife’s business. And unfortunately for him she doesn’t sell tires or fire suits.
“That’s part of the deal,” owner Rick Gimeno said, explaining that the trade-off for him getting to own a race car is that his wife, Lacie, gets to advertise on his car. “She does that ‘Scentsy’ stuff.”
So that’s how “Scentsy Wickless Candles” wound up above the red flames on the side of Gimeno’s car.
He said every driver at the track has one, but the tribute to former WVSO driver Shannon Bull really jumps out at you from Kelly Cowlishaw’s bright yellow car.
Bull’s dad Ted Mitchell and brother Shane Mitchell are well-known drivers at WVSO, and Bull was too until her death last August at age 30.
“She was probably the best female driver they’ve ever had up here,” Cowlishaw said.
As owner/operator of The Vinyl Lady, Bull also created and installed graphics and lettering on a number of cars at WVSO.
The Shannon Bull Memorial is Aug. 13 at the track.
Signs of ‘character’
Randy Adams said his wife is a huge fan of cartoon character Pepe Le Pew, but before Adams even opens his mouth, it’s clear that someone close to him is a fan of Warner Brothers’ amorous skunk.
Not only does Adams have Pepe Le Pew painted on his back bumper — along with a note telling other drivers to “Le Back Off” — he also drives with a stuffed version of him strapped to a support on the passenger side of his car.
They may have different sponsors, mottos or logos on their rides, but the one decal all of the cars at WVSO have in common is one that reads “Safety OK” with the words separated by a big blue checkmark. That’s the symbol that indicates that the car has been checked out by track officials to make sure it meets safety standards.