Pit Note No. 2: Erspamer Wins MRO High Heel Dash
Marisa Erspamer jumped out to a great start and outran Wendy Venturini and Jenny Kelly to win the second annual Motor Racing Outreach High Heel Dash on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Erspamer won by just over three feet as she led from start to finish in the 50-yard race held on the frontstretch. She defeated a field of 11 wives and girlfriends of NASCAR team members.
"I don't remember much about the race," Erspamer said. "It was so fast. I was worried about staying upright. I made it to the very end. I'm actually really relieved. I practiced a few times. I made my husband race me in the driveway."
Venturini wound up second ahead of Kelly in an event that raised more than $17,000 for charity. MRO will also host the Better Half Dash race held in conjunction with the Bank of America 500 race weekend Oct. 6-8.
NASCAR Drive for Diversity Holds First Combine: The NASCAR Drive for Diversity program (D4D) will hold its first combine on Friday at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina. The combine will select 10 candidates from a field of 12 men and two women, who hope to become a member of a NASCAR pit crew. The combine will run from 12-4 p.m.
In making the announcement, Jim Cassidy, senior vice president of racing operations for NASCAR, along with Phil Horton, Rev Racing's director of athletic performance, discussed the program.
"First, I really appreciate our relationship with Rev Racing in the evolution of the Drive for Diversity program," said Cassidy. "This came up about two years ago when Phil Horton and I spent some time in St. Louis. We were trying to reach out nationally for the program. We were trying to figure out some opportunities. On its own, this program has been so successful. Once an athlete gets in this program there's virtually a 100-percent chance of placement within NASCAR. If you do make it into the program and you perform, you can succeed."
The program went to several colleges to select this year's participants from backgrounds in football, basketball, softball and track and field. All of the participants were on hand to meet members of the media. There are 35 former D4D crew members working in NASCAR.
"Obviously, we are looking for athletes," Horton said. "They have to be able to perform and handle the pressures. They will learn as they go through the process. We know it's going to take about three to four years to learn what they need to be successful. We are also looking at their mental toughness. After you go through the process, you also have to look at attitude. You have to be able to perform."
Harlan Hoover Honored with Tony Plummer Award: In pre-race activities held as part of LiftMaster Pole Night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, audio engineer Harlan Hoover was presented with the speedway's prestigious Tony Plummer Award for outstanding service.
"It's an honor for me," Hoover said. "I worked with Tony (Plummer) for years. We have been here a long time and I think this is for longevity. My first year here was 1964 … I missed a few years while I was in the service. I've been back to almost every race since then."
In presenting the award to Hoover, Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway, noted how much Harlan Hoover has meant to the speedway.
"Tony Plummer is someone we love to remember," Smith said. "Tony was always someone who went above and beyond, working hard side-by-side with us and was so much more than just a vendor to us. He was family and we love to celebrate his legacy. Somebody like Harlan embodies that. He worked a lot when Tony was here and they knew each other well. It's neat to recognize Harlan because of just the great relationship we've had for so many years, and to recognize him for his great commitment in working with us."
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