NASCAR

RACING ONE: Todd Bodine to drive full Cup season for BelCar Racing

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foxsports admin

 
   
 
The clock didn't strike midnight for . The veteran driver will be part of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series as driver of the newly-formed BelCar Racing team, co-owned by longtime car owner Travis Carter and partner Sam Belnavis. The minority-owned team will field a Ford Taurus for the entire Winston Cup season which will carry the No. 54 and Army National Guard sponsorship. The involvement of Belnavis, the majority shareholder, marks the first minority-owned team in NASCAR's 55-year history to run a full schedule in Winston Cup racing. "Our involvement in racing is focused on enhancing the diversity effort in NASCAR as well as increasing the recruitment efforts and retention rates of our primary advertiser, the Army National Guard," said Belnavis. "The Army National Guard, along with our driver, and the resources that Travis Carter brings with him, are helping us lay the groundwork for a successful future in Winston Cup racing." Belnavis has been part of the racing landscape for several years, most significantly as a marketing executive for the Miller Brewing Company. Belnavis is credited for introducing Miller into Winston Cup racing with the signing of Bobby Allison to run the No. 22 Miller High Life Oldsmobile. "I'm committed," added Belnavis. "My background in sports marketing and motorsports has given me an understanding of what it takes to be a championship caliber organization. It takes a lot of hard work, the proper resources and dedication. That's what BelCar Racing is all about." Carter brings 32 years of experience with him into the new venture, most recently as part of Carter-Haas Racing, which was jolted last year when primary sponsor K-Mart filed bankruptcy and pulled its support of the team's two car operation. "Sam and I have a lot in common as we are both eager for success," remarked Carter. "With our combined resources, I know we'll achieve the goals set for BelCar Racing in 2003." In preparations for the upcoming season, the No. 54 Army National Guard team will conduct test sessions at the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and North Carolina Speedway. The track time has Bodine excited to get back to work. "I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity," said Bodine. "I have driven for Travis for the last two years and know he has the equipment already in place to be competitive. Sam brings a new and valuable perspective to this team and I am looking forward to driving for BelCar Racing. The timing of this announcement is perfect. It gives us every opportunity to test and prepare for this season which will get us in better position to win."

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